Opera San Jose to Present Humperdinck's HANSEL AND GRETEL
Opera San Jose? (OSJ) continues its 30th Anniversary Season with Engelbert Humperdinck's Hansel and Gretel. This enduring fairy tale of lost children, candy treats, and an evil witch comes to life for the holiday season in this delightful production. Hansel and Gretel will be sung in English, with English supertitles. Eight performances are scheduled from November 16 through December 1, at the California Theatre, 345 South First Street, in downtown San Jose?. Tickets are on sale at the Opera San Jose? Box Office, online at operasj.org or by phone at (408) 437-4450. The production of Hansel and Gretel is made possible, in part, by a Cultural Affairs Grant from the City of San Jose?.
Hansel and Gretel, with libretto by Adelheid Wette, is an enchanting story about two imaginative siblings who embark on a precarious journey to find something to eat, when their fortunes turn for the worst. Based on a story by the Brothers Grimm, this nineteeth-century opera is admired for its fun and folk-music-inspired themes, including the famous "Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep."
Joseph Marcheso conducts Hansel and Gretel. Marcheso returns after conducting Opera San Jose?'s productions of Suor Angelica, Gianni Schicchi, Faust, La traviata, La bohe?me, Manon, La Cenerentola, The Elixir of Love and Lucia di Lammermoor. Marcheso has conducted over 30 operas in theaters around the country and recently made his debut with Opera Theater St. Louis. Marcheso is on the conducting staff of San Francisco Opera and is also a conductor and coach for the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.
Andrew Whitfield will conduct alternating performances. Whitfield recently made his debut as principal conductor for the company's production of Falstaff. Whitfield served as assistant conductor for Il trovatore, The Pearl Fishers and Pagliacci. Whitfield was also Chorus Master for the company's productions of Suor Angelica, Gianni Schicchi, Idomeneo, Pagliacci, La traviata and Faust. He made his West Coast professional debut conducting Lucia di Lammermoor with Festival Opera.
Layna Chianakas returns to Opera San Jose? to direct Hansel and Gretel. Chianakas, a former OSJ resident artist, previously directed the company's 2011 production of La voix humaine. In addition, she has performed with such opera companies as Cleveland Opera, Nashville Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, Sarasota Opera, Virginia Opera, Dayton Opera, Festival Opera, Nevada Opera, Opera Santa Barbara, Madison Opera, Sacramento Opera, Intermountain Opera, and the Richard Wagner Bayreuth Festival. Chianakas is currently an assistant professor of voice at San Jose? State University's School of Music and Dance.
Hansel and Gretel features current members of Opera San Jose?'s resident ensemble in the principal roles as well as guest artists. Alternating in the role of Hansel are resident mezzo-soprano Lisa Chavez and guest artist Kindra Scharich. Chavez recently made her debut as Meg Page for the company's production of Falstaff. Other roles performed recently by Chavez include Dinah (Trouble in Tahiti), Geraldine (A Hand of Bridge), and Lorca (Ainadamar) with Opera Paralle?le of San Francisco.