Don't go into the forest. It's dark and dangerous. And there is a witch.
Engelbert Humperdinck called his musical rendition of this timeless Grimm Brothers story a "fairy-tale opera" (Märchenoper). And indeed it is. Lost in the forest, the brother and sister meet the Sandman, fourteen angels and the Dew Fairy, finally encountering a child's dream of a magical cottage made of cakes, licorice and cookies. But behind the luring facade lurks a child-eating witch. Fear. Adversary. Triumph of good over evil. A perfect story for adults...and children too!
Humperdinck's music captures the everyday reality of the family's poverty, the children's ennui and the power of both good and bad magic. First performed in 1893 and conducted by Richard Strauss, the libretto was written by Humperdinck's sister, Adelheid Wette. Influenced by Richard Wagner, Humperdinck combines Wagner's use of musical character motifs (leitmotifs) and orchestral complexity with simple folk-like melodies to create a rich and accessible score. Strauss called it original, new and "authentically German". So popular, it inaugurated the first network broadcast of a live opera from the Metropolitan Opera House in New York in 1931.
Opera da Camera's modern retelling of one of the all time great operas features singers, a young women's chorus, Sous-sol Sisters, from NDG and dancers from the Hudson Classical Ballet School in Hudson, Quebec.
Peter - Martin-Michel Boucher, baritone
Gertrud - Anik St. Louis, soprano
Hänsel - Meagan Zantingh, mezzo-soprano
Gretel - Valérie Bélanger, soprano
Knusperhexe - Kathrin Welte, mezzo-soprano
Sandmännchen and Taumännchen - Marie-Claire Fafard-Blais, soprano
Charlotte Cumberbirch, conductor
Stephanie Murphy, Brother Grimm
Félix Robitaille, Brother Grimm
Benjamin Kwong, music director
Andrew Cuk, stage director
Christopher Hossfeld, conductor
Charlotte Cumberbirch, conductor-children's chorus
Sandy Ferguson, choreographer
Stephen Alarie, stage manager
Skyler Diotte, set designer
Rachel Germinario, costume designer
Dana MacDermott, assistant costume designer
Perri Lo, assistant pianist
Katherine Black, surtitles
$49/$34/$25 and $15 (for children under 12 years)
7:30pm - October 17, 22 and 24
2:30pm - October 18
Ciné-Théâtre Le Château
6956 Rue Saint-Denis,
Montréal, QC H2S 2S4
Pre-opera talk given by Marie-Pierre Poulin (librarian at the Goethe Institute of Montreal) on October 17 at 7:00pm
Pre-opera story-time especially for children with storyteller Christine Mayr on October 18 at 2:00pm