Nov. 22nd, 2016 – A Night at the Opera
Meet Kelly. Saint James Music Academy student. Young violinist. On Tuesday, he went to the opera, Engelbert Humperdinck’s adaptation of the Grimm’s Brothers’ Hansel and Gretel featuring the artwork of the Old Trout Workshop. When asked which portion of the experience was his favorite, Kelly’s response was unhesitatingly and unforgivingly clear: that “booty-shaking” forest creature. Half man, half bushy vegetation. Well, I will admit, I enjoyed that part too.
Kelly aside, meet the others. Vanda. Bassoon player. When asked the same question? The booming baritone of the witch as she emerged from her ginger house, “nibble, nibble mousey, who’s nibbling at my housey.” Meara? The antics of the cuckoo, dancing to the crescendo and decrescendo of the orchestra. And as for the other wee’ ones that joined us? The Sandman’s discombobulated facial features fluttering through the dark Ilsenstein forest. The lighted-up jellyfish angels that came to Hansel and Gretel in their dreams. The chance to talk to the professional musicians down in the pit. The loud jolt and bang as the gingerbread house erupted into the sky upon the witch’s demise. Or that final song, witch dead, children free, family reunited, to the standing ovation of the Vancouver Playhouse crowd.
Whatever it is that will stay in these students’ memories, it was a playful yet beautiful, and certainly unforgettable, evening of voice, music, and puppetry. And even as we stood outside the theatre waiting for the parents, in the misery that is a rainy Vancouver night, the excited clamoring about what they had witnessed was not dampened. For some, it was their first time at the opera. And what an impressive operatic journey it was, from once upon a time all the way to the end. We would like to extend our sincere gratitude to the Vancouver Opera for their commitment to the arts in Vancouver and their continued support of the Saint James Music Academy.