BWW Review: HANSEL AND GRETEL with Grand Rapids Symphony and Grand Rapids Ballet
This past weekend I had the opportunity to attend Hansel and Gretel presented by Grand Rapids Symphony and Grand Rapids Ballet Company.
A magical world comes to life in the Grand Rapids Symphony's updated version of the classic children's tale, Hansel & Gretel, featuring Grand Rapids Ballet. Set to music from "The Wand of Youth" by Sir Edward Elgar, our modern-day Hansel and Gretel go out into their neighborhood, looking for adventure. There's a cell phone, a babysitter who's glued to the TV, and a pair of fun-loving main characters. This, for me, was a chance to check out one more of the many things that our local symphony in town has to offer the public, in addition to the other music series, Boom Series (movie scores played live along to film), and the last event I attended at the Grand Rapids Symphony- Christmas concert.
Before the story even got underway conductor John Varineau, spent about ten minutes for a quick education on the symphony for the children, and I'm sure some adults as well. In the Lollipop series different color shirts are worn so children can identify what family the various instruments belong to such as strings, woodwinds, brass, percussion, and of corse the conductor. From there the ballet took to the stage and used ballet set to live narration and great music from the orchestra behind them on the stage. The show stayed close enough to the original and I was surrounded by kids who were telling the story as it happens, and at times, even being a few parts ahead as kids often do.
The shows in this special children friendly series are approximately 45 minutes in length, without intermission, making them perfect for kids ages 3-7. Tickets are very affordable at $5 for this family friendly event, and makes it a great way to introduce kids to the orchestra, ballet, and even to the arts in general.
If you missed out on Hansel and Gretel, there is still a chance for you and your children to check out there second show on March 30th at 10:30 A.M. as they present the story of Ferdinand the Bull. For those who may not remember this delightful tale here is a brief summery. Ferdinand is a quiet, peaceful bull. He only wants to sit in the beautiful field, eat, sleep and smell the pretty flowers. What will happen to Ferdinand when he is stung by a bee during the visit of a great bullfighter looking for his next opponent, and will Ferdinand fight the bullfighter? This is a 45-minute show, held without intermission, also perfect for kids ages 3 to 7, with $5 general admission.