• Hansel and Gretel

    By Engelbert Humperdinck

    Nightingale Opera Theatre
    June 2014

    This collaborative concept with Lamb is a new and playful version of the classic fairytale by setting it in the 1930s Dust Bowl Midwest and using the mystery, danger and enticement of traveling carnivals to create the Witch’s environment. The background of starving families, dust-blown land and skeletal structures left by the “Black Blizzards” of the Dust Bowl not only gives Hansel and Gretel’s family a real and understandable reason for starving and lacking but also provides a severe contrast to the sweets, color and excitement of the Carnival, Witch as the Bearded Sorceress, and her candy covered caravan wagon. Act II, traditionally set in the forest, is set in an abandoned town where only the skeletal structures of house frames and lathe work are still standing and provide an abstract forest for Hansel and Gretel to be lost in. The use of a poetic and abstract “forest” is possible through the language of Act II being about “make believe”, imagining and the idea that both Hansel and Gretel wish for something fantastical and different than the boring brown landscape they are surrounded by. The inhabitants of the “forest” are personified through the lens of the carnival and circus of the past before the Bearded Sorceress took power over the landscape; including a Ring Master, Trapeze Dancer and Clown Angels.

    “…the stage sets were attractive and evocative even in their simplicity…Nightingale Opera Theatre’s take was fresh and alluring from curtain to curtain.”
    - Daniel Hathaway


Production Team

  • Directed by Fenlon Lamb

  • Scenic Design by Jeff Ridenour

  • Costume Design by Katherine Mott

  • Lighting Design by Dan Gerbracht