Opera Workshop to Present ‘Hansel and Gretel’

Hansel and Gretel

The Opera Workshop program of the department of music and dance will present Engelbert Humperdinck’s “Hansel and Gretel” on Friday, Feb. 16 and Saturday, Feb. 17 at 7:30 p.m. and and Sunday, Feb. 18 at 3 p.m. in Bowker Auditorium. The work will be performed in English.

The production’s guest director is Nathan Troup, associate director of opera studies at the Boston Conservatory, who spent the past two seasons as Boston Lyric Opera’s Emerging Artist-Stage Director.

Music direction is by Mark Lane Swanson, senior lecturer in music and director of instrumental music at Amherst College, and musical preparation is by Marjorie Melnick.

Adding to the unique nature of this year’s Opera Workshop production is the involvement of students from the UMass Amherst Dance Program, led by Tom Vacanti, and the Hampshire Young People’s Chorus, led by UMass Amherst alumna K.C. Conlan.

In creating his first complete opera, Humperdinck was inspired by the classic Brothers Grimm fairytale, though with significant changes to the original story, and by the sweeping romanticism of his mentor, Richard Wagner. “Hansel and Gretel” debuted at Weimar’s Court Theater in 1893 under the baton of Richard Strauss. The work, with its lush, rich harmonies, humor and soaring melodies, has since become a favorite of both serious opera lovers and young audiences alike.

Tickets are $15 for the general public and $5 for students, seniors and children through age 18. UMass Amherst students are admitted free. Tickets may be purchased at the Fine Arts Center Box Office, by phone at 413/545-2511, or online at www.fineartscenter.com/musicanddance.

Led by Marjorie Melnick, William Hite and Jamie-Rose Guarrine, the Opera Workshop program provides students from UMass and the Five Colleges the opportunity to present masterworks of opera and musical theater while gaining lyric stage and production skills.