Massey College Music Club, Tuesday Jan. 14, 7:45 pm
Into the Woods: Hansel and Gretel Re-invented
Dramaturg Katherine Syer and director Joel Ivany join us to talk about their vision for the Canadian Opera Company’s production of the beloved opera Hansel and Gretel, opening February 6.
The German composer Engelbert Humperdinck had never written an opera until his sister, Adelheid Wette, asked him to compose a few songs based on the famous Brothers Grimm fairytale. She would write the words, he would pen the music, and her young daughters would perform it at their family Christmas party. The results were so delightful that Humperdinck and Wette expanded their intimate family entertainment into a full-scale opera in 1893.
The COC’s production puts a new spin on this beloved classic, with innovative digital storytelling and video projections that spark the modern imagination, yet harken back to a time of story, adventure, and risk.
Katherine Syer has recently joined the faculty of the Herb Alpert School of Music at UCLA. Previously, she was on the faculty of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she taught courses in dramaturgy, research methods, theatre history, opera production history, and contemporary music theatre. She was also the Director of Graduate Studies for Illinois Theatre. She has written extensively on opera, in particular the works of Wagner, and is currently working on a book about 21st-century opera.
Joel Ivany is perhaps best known as Canadian opera’s “enfant not-so-terrible” through his indie opera company Against the Grain Theatre. He is also the Artistic Director for Opera at Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. He has written eight original librettos, and has directed for the Canadian Opera Company, Vancouver Opera, the Banff Centre, Minnesota Opera, and Edmonton Opera. His short film, The King’s Mask, was made for the Norwegian National Opera.