An old children’s story was brought to life by Regina Opera Company during two weekends in November, when the beloved local troupe staged a version of “Hansel and Gretel” that was as colorful as it was charming.
Set designer Linda Lehr guided the production, which dazzled the audience with a powerful orchestra conducted by José Alejandro Guzmán, compelling performances and music by composer Engelbert Humperdinck.
Kudos to Hansel (Perri Sussman) and Gretel (Elisha Sunshine), who were mischievous and child-like throughout the show. Particularly impressive was the scene in which they fool the witch (Heather Antonissen), pretending Hansel’s finger is a twig, with Gretel taking the magic wand and then both siblings pushing the evil crone into the oven, for the happy ending the audience wants and needs.
Lehr and Wayne Olsen created the perfect ambience. They designed three separate scenes — Hansel and Gretel’s house, the forest and the witch’s candy house, where a bunch of gingerbread children, decorative through most of the performance, come alive once the witch is dead.
Lighting designer Stephanie Lim outdid herself with color shifts echoing dramatic changes in the plot. Blue/green tones are used to showcase happier moments; the use of red intensifies dire situations such as when the witch dragged Gretel into her house. Lim used spot lighting to signify the angel’s presence, with muted side lighting coming into play when the characters pray.
Overall, Regina Opera did an impressive job of telling the story through music, dancing and design.
Coming up next will be a classic opera, “La Boheme,” on March 2, 3, 9 and 10, 2019. Tickets are $25, general admission, $20 for students and seniors (plus $1 fee for credit card charges if purchased on line). For more info, go to www.reginaopera.org.