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Oberlin Opera Theater Presents Humperdinck's Hänsel und Gretel

October 17, 2013
Emily Peragine
Hansel and Gretel poster

A classic children’s tale takes an exhilarating turn toward the macabre in Oberlin Opera Theater’s fall production of Hänsel und Gretel. The show opens November 6, with additional performances November 8 through 10 in Hall Auditorium on the Oberlin campus.

Contrary to popular belief, Engelbert Humperdinck’s most popular work is not just for children—and in this unique rendition, it’s barely for children at all. Centered on two young siblings who find themselves lost in the woods, the story contains underlying themes of starvation and violence that provide a dark edge and keep adults fastened in their seats.

As envisioned by Oberlin Opera Theater Director Jonathon Field, this Hänsel und Gretel is recommended for audiences 12 years and older.

“The premise that I'm starting from is that the family is poor, ignorant, and starving,” says Field. “This atmosphere of violence, rather than stopping the children, enables them to overcome the Witch. In fact, that act of killing the witch empowers them in a very strange way.”

In the role of the Witch, Oberlin Opera Theater welcomes the return of mezzo-soprano Karen Jesse, a 2004 graduate who played two key roles in Oberlin’s last production of Hänsel und Gretel, in 2003. Humperdinck’s enthralling score, performed by the Oberlin Chamber Orchestra, will be conducted by Raphael Jiménez, Oberlin’s director of orchestras.

Performances of Hänsel und Gretel will take place at 8 p.m. on November 6, 8, and 9, and at 2 p.m. Sunday, November 10.

Tickets are $15 ($10 for seniors, Oberlin College staff, and alumni, and $6 for students), and all seats are reserved. Tickets may be purchased online, by calling Oberlin’s Central Ticket Service (CTS) at 440-775-8169 or 800-371-0178, or by visiting the box office in the lobby of Hall Auditorium (67 N. Main St., Oberlin). CTS hours are noon to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and select Saturdays. Tickets are $3 more when purchased at the door. Hall Auditorium is wheelchair accessible, and hearing enhancement is available upon request. Free parking is available throughout the campus.

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