Hansel & Gretel – Humperdinck – English National Opera & Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre
ENO & Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre teamed up to provide a musical feast – literally – of Engelbert Humperdinck’s Hansel & Gretel. Directed by the long-term Director of the Regent’s Park Opera Timothy Sheader and supported by the ‘Tony Award’ nominated, Peter McKintosh, as the Set and Costume Designer, Lizzi Gee as the Movement Director and Oliver Fenwick as the Lighting Director. The team really produced a fun staging culminating in a great candy house with lots of colourful gingerbread men.
Ben Glassberg conducted the ENO Orchestra situated behind screens at the back of the stage and did a very good job in controlling not only the singers, but the Chorus of children from the Arts Educational School in London, as well as Bird College Conservatoire. Perhaps their singing was not quite on point at the end, but they added outstandingly to the colour and atmosphere of the evening’s entertainment.
Both the Hansel of the mezzo Rachel Kelly and the Gretel of the soprano Susie Hurrel were making their ENO debuts, both having been at the National Opera Studio. They clearly enjoyed themselves as they sang on stage and all around the outdoor theatre. They were supported by their Mother and Father – Rosie Aldridge, who has sung extensively in Vienna and perhaps the voice of the night, the ENO Harewood Young Artist and NOS Alumni, Duncan Rock. The experienced Alasdair Elliott was the amusing Witch, ultimately burnt alive in his/her own barbeque oven.
It was an amusing and satisfying evening of this eclectic opera with, in the main, young artists that deserved to shine.