Hansel and Gretel: be tempted…

Marketing_Image_smallImmersive art is enjoying a sparkling revival this year with the rapidly growing popularity of Secret Cinema, then Punchdrunk’s sell-out immersive production of The Drowned Man.  This Christmas opera is also going immersive, with a new production of Hansel and Gretel in a former cricket-bat factory in the heart of Peckham.

The innovative opera company Opera in Space is producing Humperdinck’s masterpiece Hansel and Gretel in the Bussey Building, a converted warehouse factory that functions as a night club four days a week.  It’s the same place that’s hosted successive Royal Court shows, as well as being used by the Peckham and Nunhead Film Festival.  Last January Opera in Space produced a critically acclaimed production of Dido and Aeneas  in the same space.

Their version of Hansel and Gretel will offer a modern re-telling of the classic fairytale.  In this version Hansel and Gretel are two dejected kids from a broken home: the bills building up, food prices through the roof. Mum is in despair.  Dad is nowhere to be seen. Forced out onto the streets, the siblings become tired, cross, hopeless… until something miraculous appears: a house made of gingerbread and a kind elderly lady waiting to feed them up.

Opera in Space’s Artistic Director Sylvie Gallant explains that the company aim is to truly modernise opera, broadening its appeal with new exciting staging, while still respecting the music and using the most talented artists.  With a fantastic line-up of musicians and singers, who have performed at the ENO and the Royal Opera House, this shouldn’t be hard.  The opera will be performed in English with a new modern libretto, and the audience will be lead through three floors of the warehouse, each displaying a different world of the story.

Fresh from working with Cate Blanchett at the Sydney Theatre Company Hansel and Gretel is directed by Richard Pyros, with a new libretto by Lewis Reynolds.  The opera runs at the Bussey Building, 133 Rye Lane, London, SE15 4ST from 2nd to 21st December.  Tickets range from £12.50 to £17.50.  Visit operainspace.org for more information.

Jessica Campbell © 2013.