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Hansel und Gretel at the Royal Opera

On entering the auditorium, I saw a detailed and realistic image of a valley (presumably concocted from photographs of German or Austrian countryside) projected onto the stage. I had high hopes that this new production of Hansel und Gretel will have staging that relates to the story (the last time the Royal Opera staged this, a 60s trailer and a ghastly morgue were inflicted on us). I was not to be disappointed - Anthony McDonald gave us a realistic design, with the first act set in a cosy house with barren shelves. The forest scene in Act 2 was magical - there were trees, mist, forest creatures - not to mention characters from other Grimm tales during the dream sequence. Act 3 started with a innocent and inviting looking gingerbread house, but on rotation a large cauldron (presumably for turning fat children into gingerbread) was revealed!



Hansel and Gretel were sung by Hanna Hipp and Jennifer Davis respectively. They looked the part and sounded fresh - all helped to convey two mischievous youths. Eddie Wade stepped in to play Peter who delivered his part with gusto (considering he was a last minute cast change). Gerhard Siegel was hilariously good. Sebastian Weigle was in the pit delivering a lush Wagnerian soundscape while achieving good balance with the small cast on stage.

Altogether it was a lovely and magical evening at the opera.

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