Hansel & Gretel

Monday, December 09, 2013

Enjoy two hours of Opera Arias and Broadway Songs sung by professional artists in thee Mansion’s lovely Lenfell Hall, Madison, NJ campus of Fairleigh Dickinson University. Sundays at 3PM. You are welcome to come at 2pm and bring light fare to enjoy with friends prior to Musicales. Light refreshments served at intermission.

Hansel & Gretel Synopsis

In Hansel and Gretel’s house. Hansel complains he is hungry. Gretel shows him some milk that a neighbor has given for the family’s supper. The children dance. Their mother returns and wants to know why they have gotten so little work done. She accidentally spills the milk and chases the children out into the woods to pick strawberries.

Their father, a broom-maker, returns home drunk. He brings out the food he has bought, then asks where the children have gone. The mother tells him that she has sent them into the woods. He tells her about the Witch who lives there and says that the children are in danger. They go out into the woods to look for them.

Hansel picks strawberries. The children hear a cuckoo singing and eat the strawberries. Soon they have eaten every one. In the sudden silence of the wood, Hansel admits to Gretel that he has lost the way. The children grow frightened. The Sandman comes to bring them sleep, sprinkling sand over their eyes. The children say their evening prayer. In a dream, they see 14 angels.

The Dew Fairy comes to waken the children. Gretel wakes Hansel, and they see the gingerbread house. They end up in the Witch’s kitchen. The Witch decides to fatten Hansel up and casts a spell on him. The oven is hot. Gretel breaks the Witch’s spell and sets Hansel free. When the Witch asks her to look in the oven, she pretends she doesn’t know how to: the Witch must show her. When the Witch peers into the oven, the children shove her inside and shut the door. The oven explodes. The gingerbread children come back to life. The mother and father find the children, and all express gratitude for their salvation.

                                                   –  David Wroe, Music Director

Kathryn Guthrie, Soprano – Gretel

Kathryn Guthrie is equally praised for her performances of the traditional operatic and concert repertoire. Her 2013 Philadelphia premiere of Osvaldo Golijov’s Ayre with Astral Artists was praised by the Philadelphia Inquirer. After debuting at New York City Opera in 2012 as Marie in Rufus Wainwright’s Prima Donna, repeated twice at Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center and Madrid’s Teatro Real to great acclaim.

Other New York City Opera events have included the VOX 2012 concert performing Osnat Netzer’s The Wondrous Woman Within, and the educational production of Unsuk Chin’s Alice in Wonderland as the Cheshire Cat. Other operatic roles include La Fée in Massenet’s Cendrillon, Adele in Strauss’ Die Fledermaus, Zerlina in Mozart’s Don Giovanni, and Romilda in Handel’s Xerxes. She has recently worked with Broadway conductor Patrick Vaccariello, performing in an Andrew Lloyd Webber/Rodgers & Hammerstein revue and a reading of the new musical The Ballad of Little Jo.Ms. Guthrie is the recipient of awards from the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, Houston Grand Opera, Palm Beach Opera, the Fort Worth Opera, and AIMS Graz. She holds a Master of Music from the Peabody Conservatory, where she received the Phyllis Bryn-Julson Award for Contemporary Music, and a Bachelor of Music from the University of Connecticut.


Stephanie Melzi, Mezzo Soprano – Hansel

Stephanie Maria Melzi recently returned from Arezzo, Italy where she studied with famed vocal coach Enza Ferrari, former pianist and vocal coach of Maria Callas. Miss Melzi recently sang in a concert courtesy of the Metropolitan Opera at the Columbus Citizens Foundation in NYC. Miss Melzi’s roles include Polina in Tchaikovsky’s Pique Dame, Bizet’s Carmen, Giannetta in Donizetti’s L’elisir D’amore, and Flora in Verdi’s La Traviata. Stephanie is a graduate of the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston where she studied vocal performance under the tutelage of iconic Metropolitan Opera Baritone Edward Zambara. Her other teachers include Metropolitan Mezzo Blanche Thebom and currently William Stone of the Academy of Vocal Arts. 


 Ricardo Rivera, BaritoneFather

Ricardo Rivera will return to Santa Fe Opera as an Apprentice Artist in 2014 where he will sing Moralès and cover Escamillo in Carmen.  He will also make his role debut as Marcello in La Bohème with the El Paso Opera in April of 2014. In the 2012-2013 season, with the Santa Fe Opera, he performed Thomas Martin and the Hotel Managers in the world premiere of Oscar and covered Germont in La Traviata.   Other performances included Mathieu with the Opera Orchestra of NY in Andrea Chenier, Sharpless in Madama Butterfly with the Opera company of Middlebury, and Ashby in La Fanciulla Del West with Knoxville Opera.


 Jenni Bank, Mezzo-Soprano – Mother/Witch

Jenni Bank, was born in Johannesburg, South Africa and grew up in Binghamton, New York.  Ms. Bank’s voice has been called “lush” by The Wall Street Journal, The Baltimore Sun has praised her “deep, dark, penetrating tone…that can extract Verdian richness”. Prior performances include Dame Quickly in Falstaff, Dryad in Ariadne auf Naxos, Frugola in Il Tabarro, La Zia Principessa in Suor Angelica, Zita in Gianni Schicchi, Martha in Faust, Giulietta and La voix de la mere in Les Contess d’Hoffmann, Miss Todd in The Old Maid and the Thief, Petra in A Little Night Music, The Witch in Hansel and Gretel, Third Lady in The Magic Flute, Ruth in Pirates of Penzance, Buttercup in H.M.S. Pinafore, Fairy Queen in Iolanthe, and Katisha in The Mikado. Ms. Bank’s recent performances include the Old Lady in Candide with Amarillo Opera, Marcellina in The Marriage of Figaro with Florentine Opera, and Filipyevna in Eugene Onegin with Opera Company of Middlebury. This summer Ms. Bank will debut with Ash Lawn Opera as Golde in Fiddler on the Roof.


Shuang Guo, Conductor and Pianist

As a concert pianist, Dr. Guo has performed concertos with Berlin Symphony Orchestra in Germany, Rannana Symphony Orchestra in Tel Aviv, Chinese Woman’s Philharmonic in Beijing, Kansas City Camerata and Santa Fe Symphony Orchestra.  For the past 10 years, Dr. Guo serves as the Music Director of 2 choruses in NJ, Chinese American Music Ensemble and Knowledge of Sound (Zhiyin) Chorus.  She held the position of Principal Conductor of Woman’s Philharmonic Society in Beijing. Growing up in a musical family in Beijing, Mrs. Guo received her Bachelor’s degrees on both piano and conducting from Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, Artist Diplomas in piano and conducting from Hochschule der Kunster in Berlin, Germany and doctoral degree in piano performance from University of Missouri, Kansas City.

Mike Phillips, Stage Director and Choreographer

Mike Phillips has been working on one side of the curtain or the other for over 50 years.  As a performer he’s sung, acted and/or danced in countless productions over the years.  Behind the scenes he’s worked as Director, Choreographer, or producer on countless productions that have been performed on every continent excepting the South Pole.  While working freelance as a director/choreographer, Mike has also spent 20 years on the directing staff at New York City Opera.