Opera da Camera's Hänsel und Gretel

Opera da Camera's Hänsel und Gretel

Jenna Simeonov

Starting October 17th, Montréal’s Opera da Camera begins its 201516 season with an operatic favourite: Humperdinck’s Hänsel und Gretel. The classic story and beloved music make this a great multidisciplinary opera, and one meant for all ages. “The choice of opera is of course vital,” says Artistic Director (and Hansel!) Meagan Zantingh, “and with Humperdinck’s Hänsel und Gretel, you have a timeless, classic fairy-tale that has all the elements of good story-telling. The story is familiar for children, and in our production, the audience will see children on stage, which is also important.” In addition to soprano Valérie Bélanger as Gretel and mezzo Kathrin Welte as The Witch will feature a group of young dancers from the Hudson Classical Ballet School, actors from John Abbott College, and a young chorus made up of the Sous-sol Singers. “[The audience will] be able to watch artists of all ages become part of the story.”

Opera da Camera is all about accessibility. For their upcoming Hänsel, they’ll hold two free pre-show talks, aimed at both young and adult audiences. “Before our matinée performance, there will be a pre-opera talk geared especially towards children with a professional story teller, and before the opening night there is a pre-opera talk given by a representative of the Goethe Institute of Montreal.”

Accessible opera means a comfy night at the theatre, too. “The Théâtre Le Château is a beautiful, historic space, but it is a much less intimidating size than many of the big opera houses around the country. And finally, our low ticket prices make going to the opera a little more financially accessible.”

Opera da Camera has expanded their season from one show to two, and they continue to look at the big picture of what it means to produce opera. “One lofty goal we have for this company is to create future audiences and future artists for this art form we all love and have chosen to make careers in. At least, with our productions, we hope to provide an entry point into opera for tentative, first-time opera goers, and with this show in particular, for children.”

Meagan Zantingh as Hänsel and Valérie Bélanger as Gretel. Photo courtesy of Opera da Camera.

Hänsel und Gretel plays for 4 shows, October 17, 18 (matinee), 22 and 24th at the Ciné-Théâtre Le Château. For details and tickets, follow the box office links below.

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