Virginia Opera Brings ‘Hansel and Gretel’ to Center for the Arts

Posted: November 28, 2011 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 18, 2011 at 4:53 pm

A scene from the Virginia Opera's production. Photo by David Polston

The Center for the Arts in Fairfax will welcome back the Virginia Opera on Friday, Dec. 2, at 8 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 4, at 2 p.m., to present 19th-century composer Engelbert Humperdinck’s fairy tale opera, “Hansel and Gretel.”

Based on the Brothers Grimm story, this timeless masterpiece is both charming and haunting. Punished by their mother, young Hansel and Gretel are sent into the Ilsenstein Forest to look for strawberries, but cannot find their way home as night approaches.

Scared and hungry, they come upon a cottage made of delicious gingerbread and sweets and are tricked and captured by the evil witch who lives within — until the clever and brave Gretel saves them and they are reunited with their parents.

The Virginia Opera is collaborating with the Governor’s School for the Arts on this production of “Hansel and Gretel” through the Student Training and Artistic Residency Program. The Governor’s School will exclusively provide the chorus for the production.

The production also features a cast of new young singers. Mezzo-soprano Karin Mushegain debuts as Hansel, and first-year Spectrum Resident Artist soprano Julia Ebner debuts as Gretel. Mezzo-soprano Margaret Gawrysiak debuts in the dual roles of Gertrude, Hansel and Gretel’s mother, and the children’s nemesis, The Witch. Countertenor Jason Abrams debuts as the Sandman, while debuting Spectrum Resident Artist soprano Elizabeth Baldwin appears as the Dew Fairy. Joining these five new singers is acclaimed baritone Eric Greene in the role of Peter, the children’s father. Noted American conductor Gerald Steichen will serve as guest conductor, while Kevin Newbury will direct the production.

This production of “Hansel and Gretel” will be sung in English and German with English supertitles.

Tickets are $44, $72 and $86 on Friday; and $48, $80 and $98 on Sunday. For both performances, tickets for youth through grade 12 are half price when the child is accompanied by an adult. Charge tickets by phone at 888-945-2468, visit the box office or order online at

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