Last weekend, the music department put on the opera Hansel and Gretel with the help of the theater department. The show was based on the fairy tale about the young brother and sister who are sent into the woods, where they encounter a wicked witch who tries to eat them. On April 2, Hansel was played by Jenna Doulong ’13 and Gretel was played by Sarah Hartman ’11. Hartman’s vocals were quite impressive as she played the more dominant and serious of the siblings. On the other hand, Doulong provided comedic relief with her facial expressions and goofy mannerisms. They complemented each other well, balancing seriousness with playfulness for the majority of the show.
However, Laura Knowles ’11 stole the show as the Witch. She managed to somehow be creepy and charming as she lured the chorus girls into her gingerbread house. Her powerhouse vocals and villainous attitude brought the second act to life, giving the show more depth.
The first act was performed well musically, but it lacked any sort of attention grabbers. There were beautiful angels who danced between scenes, but their dances were at times long and repetitive. The singers were also difficult to understand during various songs. Thankfully, the second act made up for what the first act lacked. Knowles’ dynamo vocals and Doulong’s well-played boyish charm made it entertaining and moving.
Perhaps part of the show’s problem was that it was such a well-known tale that the audience was just anticipating what would happen next rather than paying attention to what was actually happening on stage. That does not mean that the show was not well-directed or well-performed, there was just an excess of familiarity that brought the whole thing down. However, it was clear that the performers put a lot of work into the show.
I partially wish that I could have seen both performances because some roles were double- cast, but I am okay with only seeing it once. You can only follow a storyline so many times before everything gets boring. Overall, the singing was superb and the acting good; the orchestra played beautifully and the set pieces were nice. In the future, they may want to choose an opera or show that is a litt le less known, but for what it was worth, the show did seem like a fairy tale come to life.