“Hansel and Gretel may be the world’s favorite fairy tale opera, and it is certainly the most tuneful,” said Opera Las Vegas General Director Jim Sohre, who should know.
The 28-strong OLV Youth Chorus, who are highly enthused about the melodies and dramatic twists and turns. Sohre added: “The chorus will first play guardian angels, and then, in the finale, the lucky children who get redeemed from being frozen in time as the Witch’s gingerbread cookies.”
Opera Las Vegas is reviving their production of Engelbert Humperdinck’s beloved classic version of Hansel and Gretel (in English) just in time for the holiday season.
Windmill Library Theatre
7060 West Windmill Lane, Las Vegas, NV, 89113
Hansel and Gretel will be performed in a special 75-minute, one act adaptation by Jack Gaughan, and will be conducted by Ioannis Protopapas, a doctoral student at UNLV’s School of Music, who successfully helmed the music for OLV’s 27. Protopapas will lead an orchestra of eleven through Humperdinck’s tune-filled score that includes enchanting folk melodies, plaintive dramatic passages, playful hexes, and the famously lush Abendsengen (Evening Prayer)
VIP tickets at $35, General Admission tickets at $20, and Youth (6-18 years) tickets at $10 are available on line at www.operalasvegas.com. Group sales (over 8 people) at $10 each are also available.
Soprano Casey Dakus (Gretel) and Mezzo-soprano Danielle Marcelle Bond (Hansel) will star in the title roles. Ms. Dakus is a Las Vegas native who is majoring in vocal performance at UNLV, where she appeared as Donna Elvira (Don Giovanni), Ophelia (Hamlet) and Euridice (Orfeo ed Euridice). For OLV, she performed Mrs. Sem in Noye’s Fludde (Noah’s Flood), and she is recreating her role as Gretel which she performed to great acclaim last season.
Ms. Bond is based in Los Angeles, and she has previously starred in OLV’s productions of Cinderella (the stepdaughter Tisbe) and Rigoletto (the vampish Maddalena). She is no stranger to the role of Hansel, a favorite she has performed before, and is having fun getting back into a “pants role” in which she impersonates a spunky young man.
On the other hand, the role of the Witch is often portrayed by a mezzo-soprano, but OLV is breaking with tradition and tenor Karsten Pudwill, having had audiences in stitches last year, will reprise this vocally demanding part of Rosina Daintymouth. Mr. Pudwill has appeared with Vegas City Opera as Frederick in Super Summer Theatre’s The Pirates of Penzance. He will once again trade in his sea legs for a wild ride on a magic broom.
Travis Lewis (Peter) and Ashley Stone (Gertrude) are the nattering parents who inadvertently allow their children to wander un-chaperoned in the ominous woods. Mr. Lewis last appeared with Opera Las Vegas as he opened the season in September in Sasha Matson’s Cooperstown, a Jazz Opera in Nine Innings, while Ms. Stone was Mrs. Noah for the company’s Noah’s Flood, and was recently featured with the Las Vegas Philharmonic in A Very Vegas Showcase.
Rounding out the cast are Denise Wunderlich (Sandman), an admired soprano soloist at Green Valley Presbyterian Church, and Athena Mertes (Dew Fairy), a lyric soprano well remembered as Gertrude Stein in OLV’s West Coast premiere of Ricky Ian Gordon and Royce Vavrek’s 27 last April.
Sohre also promises “the audience will be able to meet and greet the cast and creative team in the lobby after the performance to ask questions, provide critical reaction, or just stop by for a unique holiday photo-op. Opera Las Vegas is committed to our motto of ‘Celebrating Life’s Grandest Stories Onstage,’ and Hansel and Gretel is one of the grandest of all.”