Peabody Opera Outreach presents
Hansel & Gretel
in a shortened version for young audiences
Jennifer Blades, stage director
JoAnn Kulesza, musical director
Available from November 2008 through April 2009
Contact Elizabeth Cooper, Outreach Co-ordinator
Prices on request
This production is a 50–minute condensation of Humperdinck’s immortal opera Hansel and Gretel for performance in schools (ideally grades 3–7). The plot thread of the original is maintained, the main cuts coming in the choruses, the ballet sequences, and the music for the parents. The production is fully costumed, and presented on a unique revolving set which changes quickly from a domestic interior to a deep forest, and on to the gingerbread house of the witch. The presentation is framed by a brief introduction beforehand and a question-and-answer session afterwards, in which the audience gets to interact directly with the performers.
The story of the opera
Two children, Hansel and Gretel, have been left alone in the house to work at the family business of making brooms. Furious to find they have been wasting their time dancing and playing instead of working, their mother sends them out into the forest to gather strawberries. When the children’s father returns, in high spirits after a good day at the market, he is horrified to learn that they may have gone to the Ilsenstein, notorious as the abode of a wicked Witch who lures children with promises of candy, turns them into gingerbread, and eats them.
The scene changes to the forest. Hansel and Gretel have again wasted time eating more strawberries than they have gathered, and now night is approaching. Gretel is terrified by the dark shadows among the trees, and Hansel admits that he has lost their way. But the Sandman appears to put the children into a peaceful sleep. After saying their prayers, they settle down, no longer afraid.
In the morning, the children are awakened by the Dew Fairy. Looking around, they see a magnificent cottage made of gingerbread and candy. When they break off a piece of this to eat it, however, the Witch appears and places the children under a spell. She begins to fatten Hansel on more candy, while making Gretel do her chores. But eventually, the clever Gretel learns the magic spell and uses it to secretly release Hansel. So when the Witch tries to trick Gretel into the oven, Hansel is able to creep up and help his sister push the Witch in instead! The worried parents finally catch up with their children. The Witch is pulled out of the oven, where she has been turned into a perfect gingerbread cookie!
Listings are alphabetical; cast combinations are determined for each performance
Kerri Lynn Slominsky
|Sandman / Dew Fairy||Joanna Bae Ah Lee|
Diana Cantrelle McKinney
Outreach booking procedure:
If you would like to book an outreach performance, please click here to provide us with some information about your venue. You will be contacted by the Outreach Co-ordinator, Elizabeth Cooper, within a few days. Your venue must provide:
- a stage or stage space, roughly 25 by 30 feet;
- a recently tuned, performance-ready piano in the space;
- a separate, quiet dressing room with access to a bathroom;
- accurate directions from downtown Baltimore to your school; and
- a non-refundable deposit of fifty dollars.
Elizabeth Cooper, Opera Outreach Coordinator
Peabody Conservatory of Music
1 E. Mount Vernon Place
Baltimore, MD 21202–2397
Telephone: (410) 659–8100 ext/1255