Baylor Opera Theater Brews Up a Modern Hansel and Gretel

Jan. 30, 2009

by Lillyan Baker, student newswriter, (254) 710-6805

The Baylor University Opera Theater will present a contemporary version of Engelbert Humperdinck's opera, Hansel and Gretel, at 7:30p.m. from Thursday, Feb. 5, to Sunday, Feb. 8, at the Hooper-Schaefer Fine Arts Center on the Baylor campus.

In 1893, Humperdinck, a German romantic composer, premiered Hansel and Gretel as a Christmas concert. Humperdinck's version of the black forest and wicked witch has been revamped for the 21st century by Dr. Michael Johnson, director of Baylor Opera and producer for Hansel and Gretel.

In this modern fairy tale, Hansel and Gretel are sent to a shopping mall as a punishment to buy school supplies, and become trapped at an electronics store by an "evil, dark lord' who freezes children.

"Society loves Harry Potter as a 'good witch' and I wanted to go into that direction with an evil everyone recognizes," said Johnson. "College students are obsessed with electronics, such as cell phones, iphones and Blackberrys. Electronics are the new candy."

"This is a completely new English version of the opera suitable for families and people of all ages that will be an exciting, memorable performance," said Johnson.

The Baylor Opera Theater was established in the early 1940s. It now presents eight performances a year. Recent productions include: Falstaff, Die Fledermaus, Don Giovanni, La Boheme, The Barber of Seville, The Crucible, The Elixir of Love, The Marriage of Figar, The Gondoliers and Ormindo.

Tickets are $20 for the general public and $15 for Baylor faculty, staff and students. Children under the age of 12 can attended for free with purchase of one adult ticket. For ticket information, call the Theater Department box office at (254) 710-1865.

For more information about Hansel and Gretel, contact the Baylor University School of Music at (254) 710-3991.

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