The orchestra played an up-beat melody to open the production for a small audience at Wednesday night's dress rehearsal. The intricate introduction created the magical illusion that the characters just appear and disappear as they are introduced.
The Brothers Grimm fairy tale, which has been adapted for the Nevada Opera performance and accompanied by an orchestral score composed by Engelbert Humperdinck, is enchanting. The cast is composed of talented Nevada Opera singers who beautifully reenact the German fairy tale in English.
While children may not appreciate the art of opera, they will gaze at the stage with excitement at the vibrant and detailed sets. The sets look as if they jumped off the pages of a well-illustrated pop-up book. Colorful and bubbly, even the evil witch's gingerbread house looks inviting and happy.
The lighting used to set the mood in forest, where Hansel and Gretel find themselves hopelessly lost, adds tension to the happy-go-lucky performance. Audience members tense and the children cringe as forest creatures frighten Hansel and Gretel and the evil witch effortlessly enters their lives in an attempt to make lunch out of them.
For "Hansel and Gretel," the Nevada Opera has incorporated northern Nevada youth into the performance, giving many the chance for their stage debut. The gingerbread children that are saved in the end by Hansel and Gretel are performed by 16 members of the Nevada Opera Youth Chorus.
While adults may go to take the fairy tale friendly children in their lives, the adults will enjoy Hansel and Gretel just as much as the children. This production is a great family event, especially if the children are familiar with the fairy tale.
The Nevada Opera will hold just two performance of Hansel and Gretel: Friday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets range from $35 to $90 and can be purchased at www.pioneercenter.com or by calling 877-840-0457.
The Nevada Opera will wrap up their season with "The Mikado" on April 11 and 13.