Starting with one heck of a sweet tooth, and a hand-full of classical fairy-tale magic, Scottish Opera launch into the 2021 season with their latest On-Screen production. Filmed at Glasgow’s Theatre Royal in December of last year, Engelbert Humperdinck’s Hansel & Gretel will be available to stream from 6pm on February 10th from the Scottish opera website where an audio-described option will also be provided.
Audiences can traverse the dangers of the forest, leaving behind the modest family life as they too are tempted by gaudy treasures and sickeningly sugary indulgences. But if you’re finding a crave for some sweet treats, BBC Radio Scotland will feature audio excerpts from the production as part of their Classics Unwrapped, presented by Jamie MacDougall on February 7th.
The foreboding tale reimagined, Daisy Evans stages a vibrant and jovial take on the Brothers Grimm timeless fairy-tale. This enchanting adaptation of Humperdinck’s opera renews the story of siblings, Hansel and Gretel, as they venture from a poverty-stricken home, into the unknown and perils of the woods, and with the worldly delights at their feet, gradually a life at home doesn’t seem too bad to the pair.
Talking about the difficulties of the festive period and looking to the symphony of colour, enthusiasm and sparkle to draw families back into the world of theatre and music, Evans says:
This show is fun for all the family, bright colours, big energy and plenty of glitter! With the current pandemic, everybody has had a difficult Christmas, so I wanted it to be about finding joy where we can, and about families celebrating together. And I also want it to encourage people to come back to the theatre, and to bring their children with them – to make them want to be part of this experience, and to invest in it as part of our culture.’
In a translation by David Pountney with scaled orchestration by Derek Clark, David Parry conducts Kitty Whatley as Hansel, while La bohème star Rhian Lois will take on the part of Gretel. Parry also has the tenacity to work with and draw the best from Nadine Benjamin as The Witch, Phillip Rhodes and Scottish Opera emerging artist Charlie Drummond.
Now, though we sense the palpable excitement from the adults in the room – remember, this production is for the entire family and an excellent bridge for kids at home to the world of opera. And despite the opera’s festive connections and motifs, Daisy’s production is a sure-fire treat for any audiences throughout the year – after all, in a land of magic and world of wonder isn’t it Christmas every day?
Hansel & Gretel will be available to watch via Scottish Opera’s website: www.scottishopera.org.uk.
Ravenous for more? Scottish Opera’s On-Screen collection is still available to watch here, including recent triumphs Menotti’s The Telephone and Mozart’s Così fan tutte
Photo Credit – James Glossop