A Classic Fairy Tale Gets a Makeover Children of All Ages Will Eat Up. Figuratively.
It's the 1980s and brother and sister, Hansel and Gretel, have gotten lost in a dark forest. They're facing an uncertain future—until they find a gingerbread house with delectable delights as far as the eye can see, singing gingerbread children, and a suspicious woman (who reminds them of their lunch lady at school) most interested in keeping Hansel and Gretel around, perhaps for longer than they want! How on earth will they get out of this tantalizing jam?
"Hansel and Gretel," a well-known German fairy tale recorded and published by the Grimm brothers in 1812, is being given a 20th-century retelling by the University of Arkansas Opera Theatre. In collaboration with the Department of Music and the Department of Theatre, as well as the University of Arkansas Children's Choir, the English-language opera Hansel and Gretel will be performed Nov. 21 and 22 at the University Theatre in the Fine Arts Center building on main campus.
Stage director Laura Shatkus, an M.F.A graduate in theatre from the University of Arkansas, says this version of the opera is an imaginative and relatable retelling.
"Children are and always have been our most valuable resource and Humperdinck's adaptation of Grimm's famous fairy tale reminds us of how resilient, intelligent and precious they are to the world," Shatkus said. "The opera provides fertile ground for interpretation and our production will provide some wonderful surprises for both parents and children alike. This tale of adventure and magic is just as moving and relevant today as it was to the children Humperdinck wrote it for."
Hyun Kim, music director of opera theatre, has worked diligently with voice majors in preparation of the performance.
"The students are dedicated to the telling of this fairytale and have spent considerable time mastering the music," Kim said. "This year, we decided on a double cast, meaning that each night's performance will include a different set of performers. This brings another layer of complexity to this unique retelling for the community to enjoy."
With a modern setting and music all in English, this production is open to all audiences, including children.
The performances are at 7:30 p.m. in the University Theatre and are free to the public with no need for a ticket.
Parking is available at the Stadium Drive Parking Garage adjacent to the Fine Arts Center.
For more information, visit the Department of Music website at music.uark.edu .
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