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Hansel & Gretel at Opera Holland Park


Humperdinck: Hansel & Gretel - Shakira Tsindos, Emily Christina Loftus - Opera Holland Park Young Artists performance
Humperdinck: Hansel & Gretel – Shakira Tsindos, Emily Christina Loftus – Opera Holland Park 


Humperdinck: Hansel & Gretel; Shakira Tsindos, Emily Christina Loftus, Ella de Jongh, Edward Kim, Madeline Boreham, director John Wilkie/Bence Kalo, Town of London Sinfonia, conductor Charlotte Corderoy; Opera Holland Park

The yearly Younger Artists efficiency proves a excellent ensemble account of the opera that drew us into the tale and not allow us to depart.

One of the vital explanation why Humperdinck’s Hansel & Gretel stays one of these well-liked staple within the opera home is that it combines a potent tale with nice tunes. Written sooner than Freud, but filled with intriguing mental intensity, the opera supplies administrators with a lot of grist for his or her turbines, and but in a manufacturing that takes the tale at face price the resonances stay.

John Wilkie‘s new manufacturing of Humperdinck’s Hansel & Gretel for Opera Holland Park is certainly circle of relatives pleasant. The manufacturing debuted on 10 June 2023, and we stuck it on Friday 16 June, which was once the Younger Artists Efficiency, with Charlotte Corderoy carrying out the Town of London Sinfonia, and Bence Kalo directing a forged of Shakira Tsindos (Hansel), Emily Christina Loftus (Gretel), Ella de Jongh (the Gingerbread Witch), Edward Kim (Peter), Madeline Boreham (Gertrud), Claudia Haussmann (The Sandman), and Eleanor Broomfield (The Dew Fairy). There have been 8 singers from the Opera Holland Park refrain plus kids from Cardinal Vaughan Memorial Faculty. Designs had been by way of Neil Irish, lighting fixtures by way of Robert Worth, motion by way of Michael Spenceley.

The Younger Artists Scheme at Opera Holland Park performs crucial position at the corporate’s ethos, now not simplest does the scheme give the 12 months’s younger artists complete performances of their very own (this 12 months the Younger Artist forged was once giving 3 performances of Hansel & Gretel), however former younger artists shape the spine of the corporate and in order that this season features a dozen former younger artists.

Humperdinck: Hansel & Gretel - Eleanor Broomfield (Dew Fairy) - Opera Holland Park Young Artists performance
Humperdinck: Hansel & Gretel – Eleanor Broomfield (Dew Fairy) – Opera Holland Park Younger Artists efficiency

John Wilkie and Neil Irish have created an overly circle of relatives pleasant manufacturing, but one who hints on the intriguing mental components beneath with out being too darkish, while it miraculously manages to keep away from coy sweetness. We start, right through the overture, with Hansel and Gretel in mattress, studying a ebook of fairy stories, the characters come to existence and those 8 figures play crucial position within the opera. The environment is captivating, however there was once sufficient realism for mom, Gertrud’s outburst in Act One to rely. 

The Dream Pantomime was once a imaginative and prescient of a higher existence as fourteen maids in animal mask organized a pleasing middle-class space and reunited Hansel and Gretel with their folks. That the scene with the witch could be the opposite of this dream was once urged by way of the truth that her gingerbread space was once the kids’s space merely grew to become round (in entrance of our eyes), however that was once a dream too was once urged by way of the way in which the fairy story characters had been concerned, serving to Hansel and Gretel. The youngsters’s refrain was once rather well treated, certainly warding off the lovable.

While the tale could be a child-friendly one, Humperdinck’s tune is richly romantic in a neo-Wagnerian vein. Hansel & Gretel is without doubt one of the few a success operas written by way of one in all Wagner’s disciples; Humperdinck was once at the tune group of workers at Bayreuth for the premier of Parsifal in addition to giving younger Siegfried Wagner tune courses, and you’ll inform. However it signifies that the opera is a huge sing, there’s no room for partly shaped voices, the 2 leads want to clutch the tune and run with it.

Humperdinck: Hansel & Gretel - Shakira Tsindos, Emily Christina Loftus - Opera Holland Park Young Artists performance
Humperdinck: Hansel & Gretel – Shakira Tsindos, Emily Christina Loftus – Opera Holland Park

And this, Shakira Tsindos and Emily Christina Loftus did in spades. From the outset, when they’re performing in dumb display right through the overture, the 2 shaped a lovely connection. Tsindos was once an interesting Hansel, unruly but now not too brattish and with character in spades. She was once matched by way of Loftus whose Gretel was once most likely sharper and extra street-smart than standard. There have been quite a lot of delights at the manner, as each treated their solos and duets with an interesting sense of fashion, however what carried us alongside was once the sense of personality and drama that the 2 dropped at the jobs.

The instant Madeline Boreham opened her mouth as the kids’s mom, Gertrud, in Act One you knew that this was once a voice and character to reckon with. There was once no doubting this mom’s energy, but additionally, her care and love. Boreham was once finely partnered by way of Edward Kim as the kids’s father, Peter. Making his front on a bicycle, Kim made a powerful, resonant and extremely sympathetic Peter. Regardless that the 2 roles are somewhat small, Boreham and Kim had the voices and the personalities to lead them to rely.

The position of the witch is a rather small one, specifically if, as right here, she does now not make an look right through the prelude to Act Two when her tune seems. However the position supplies a god-send for singers with the appropriate character, and Ella de Jongh definitely introduced that to endure. She grasped each alternative the efficiency gave her, and her Gingerbread Witch was once an actual excursion de power. Glamorous to start with in a somewhat Marlene Dietrich manner (blond wig and sparkly purple get dressed), she was once attractive but horrifying and filled with character. When the kids had been securely fixed up, the transformation grew to become her right into a Nazi officer. This hinted at ideas within the dramaturgy now not somewhat concept thru, however de Jongh made the efficiency an actual triumph.

Humperdinck: Hansel & Gretel - Claudia Haussmann (Sandman) - Opera Holland Park Young Artists performance
Humperdinck: Hansel & Gretel – Claudia Haussmann (Sandman) – Opera Holland Park

Claudia Haussmann’s Sandman was once an actual fairy story personality, showing in a bathtub boat with a sail that was once the moon, plus two dream kids in tow. Haussmann sang charmingly, with great lightness of contact and nice engagement. For no matter explanation why, Eleanor Broomfield’s Dew Fairy was once a display woman (or most likely dancer from the Ballets Russes) arriving by way of bicycle, however Broomfield’s efficiency transcended those questions, making a song with pride.

The 8 refrain individuals had so much to do, making a song on the finish however performing and dancing all over, forming the spine of the night time in some way that was once deftly completed, by no means pulling focal point. The youngsters from Cardinal Vaughan Memorial Faculty had been admirable, some had been concerned within the performing and all had been finely engaged.

Within the pit, younger artist conductor Charlotte Corderoy directed the Town of London Sinfonia in a reasonably decreased model of Humperdinck’s ranking. But there was once by no means a really feel of relief, Corderoy drew wealthy textures from the orchestra, but the entirety remained fluid and flowing, you forgot that there was once a Wagnerian intensity to the tune; she and the Town of London Sinfonia had been warmly sympathetic companions to the singers.

I will be able to be somewhat frank, I somewhat desire my Hansel & Gretels somewhat darker and grittier, however Wilkie’s manufacturing was once at all times clever and attractive, and, as I’ve stated, was once by no means too cutesy. Inside of this Bence Kalo had drawn high quality performances from the younger singers, we merely overlook that there was once anything else younger artist in regards to the night time and easily loved a powerful ensemble account of the opera that drew us in to the tale and not allow us to depart.

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