Washington National Opera (WNO) begins a new annual tradition of holiday opera with Engelbert Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel, December 21 to 23 in the Kennedy Center Terrace Theater. This family favorite stars current singers and alumni of the Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program in a candy-colored production directed by David Gately, with the WNO Orchestra conducted by Michael Rossi. This production is recommended for ages As a great way to introduce young audiences to the world of opera, Hansel and Gretel will be performed in English with English supertitles, making it easy for families to follow along. The timeless fairy tale of lost children, candy treats, and an evil witch comes to life for the holiday season in this WNO family production.
The cast includes Sarah Mesko and Julia Mintzer as Hansel, Emily Albrink and Shantelle Przybylo as Gretel, Norman Garrett as Peter (Father), María Eugenia Antúnez as Gertrude (Mother), Corey Evan Rotz as the Witch, and Jessica Stecklein as the Sandman and Dew Fairy. This is the production’s first time at the Kennedy Center Terrace Theater; it was last performed by WNO at Washington’s Lincoln Theatre during the 2007–2008 season. Hansel and Gretel is the first production of WNO’s new commitment to family programming during the holiday season. Holiday opera will continue to be a part of WNO’s future seasons, creating a new tradition for the families of the DC metro region. Hansel and Gretel is the third production of WNO’s 2012–2013 season, which also includes Patricia Racette in her role debut as Manon Lescaut, a new production of Norma starring Angela Meade in her role debut, and the company premiere and new production of the classic American opera Show Boat, directed by newly appointed WNO Artistic Director Francesca Zambello. On Saturday, May 18, Show Boat will be simulcast live, free of charge, to thousands of fans at National Park as part of Opera in the Outfield. WNO will also present the first performances of the American Opera Initiative, WNO’s new commissioning program for young American composers and librettists.