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Resonance Works to Premiere New HANSEL & GRETEL Film at the Kelly Strayhorn Theater

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The December 18 premiere celebration will feature live performances by the Pittsburgh Youth Chorus and members of the Resonance Chamber Orchestra.

Resonance Works to Premiere New HANSEL & GRETEL Film at the Kelly Strayhorn Theater

Resonance Works expands its holiday tradition for 2021 with the premiere of a new film of Engelbert Humperdinck's beloved opera Hansel & Gretel. The film will premiere with a live event on December 18 at 3 p.m. at the Kelly Strayhorn Theater in East Liberty, and stream online beginning December 19. A co-production with Opera Ithaca, the family-friendly film features an impressive cast of opera artists from around the country, along with the Pittsburgh Youth Chorus and the Resonance Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Maria Sensi Sellner. The December 18 premiere celebration will feature live performances by the Pittsburgh Youth Chorus and members of the Resonance Chamber Orchestra in addition to the film.

In this innovative reimagining of the 19th-century original, siblings Hansel and Gretel, lost in the woods, stumble upon the set of a celebrity pastry chef's cooking show, where they are invited to be the guest stars (and main ingredients!) The new English libretto and concept for the film originated with Ben Robinson, Artistic Director of both Opera Ithaca and Raylynmor Opera (NH), who also directed the film. "Hansel and Gretel is a piece that conjures so much for me- wide-eyed wonder, fear, the joy of being able to see your family again. This production, which has been so collaborative, really reflects the values represented in the opera." Robinson is a familiar face to Pittsburgh audiences with notable on-stage roles in Resonance Works' productions of Falstaff, Rusalka, and On the Town, and with Pittsburgh Festival Opera. "Ben has always been full of amazing ideas and is a joy to work with, so when he proposed this film partnership, it was a no-brainer for us," says Resonance Works Artistic & General Director Maria Sensi Sellner. "Bringing this beloved opera to film allows us to approach it in a different and fresh way, not merely as an alternative to a live staged production, and to create something together that can be enjoyed by a wider audience."

The cast features an outstanding collection of singers who are making their mark on stages nationally and internationally. Mezzo-soprano Annie Rosen (Hansel) returns to the Metropolitan Opera later this season to reprise her role in the 2022 Grammy nominated production of Philip Glass's Akhnaten. Soprano Marlen Nahhas (Gretel) is a recent alumna of the Cafritz Young Artists program at Washington National Opera and the Merola Opera Program at San Francisco Opera. A 2019 Grand Finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, soprano Meghan Kasanders (Mother/Witch) made her European opera debut as Mutter in Hänsel und Gretel at Staatsoper Hannover, and was the first place winner in the 2017 Mildred Miller International Voice Competition presented by Pittsburgh Festival Opera. Baritone Mario Diaz-Moresco is one of the most visible interpreters on the recital and new music stage, including recent appearances with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Chautauqua Opera, On Site Opera, and the Brooklyn Art Song Society.

The film also offered an opportunity for Resonance Works to collaborate once again with the Pittsburgh Youth Chorus, who previously joined forces for the U.S. premiere of James MacMillan's Gloria in 2017. "Our young singers have been fortunate to view this creative process through an innovative lens, performing a delightful, fresh libretto, and collaborating virtually with opera singers from around the world," says PYC Artistic Director Shawn Funk.

The Pittsburgh Youth Chorus ensemble that appeared in the film will perform two seasonal selections live at the December 18 premiere alongside performances by members of the Resonance Chamber Orchestra of works by Pittsburgh composer Nancy Galbraith and Ottorino Respighi. "It has been our tradition to present a varied mosaic of music for the holiday season, and this year is no exception," says Sellner. "I'm thrilled that we can once again share live music with our Pittsburgh community while continuing to create opportunities for a wider audience to experience opera through our virtual platform"

Ticket Information

Tickets for the December 18 Hansel & Gretel Film Premiere are currently on sale via ShowClix at www.resworks.org/hansel-and-gretel. Virtual ticket sales for the Hansel & Gretel digital stream will go on sale on Resonance Works's website following the in-person premiere event.

In accordance with the Kelly Strayhorn Theater's Covid Safety Measures, masks will be required for all visitors regardless of vaccination status. All performers will also be masked. Proof of vaccine is not required for entry, however, the Kelly Strayhorn Theater strongly encourages Pittsburgh community members to get vaccinated against Covid-19 if possible.


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