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Engelbert Humperdinck


December 14 & 15, 2013

Sat Dec 14 Performance is CANCELLED due to snow.

Sunday is not cancelled and will go on as scheduled!

Join the DVO for three special matinee performances, in a special holiday production for the whole family. Hansel and Gretel's composer, Engelbert Humperdinck, described it as a fairy tale opera, and in fact, the libretto was written by Humperdinck's sister based on the famous Grimm Brothers' fairy tale. Hansel and Gretel is much admired for its folk music-inspired themes, especially the famous Abendsegen (Evening Benediction) from Act II.

Tickets: $15 Adults

Tickets: $5 Children, Free for children under 6

Saturday, December 14, 2013, 2 p.m.
Grace Episcopal Church, Honesdale, PA
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Sunday, December 15, 2013, 2 p.m.
Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, Bethel, NY
Free Tickets are available by reservation with Bethel Woods: click here
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Cast and Production Team

Mother: Carol Diefenbach
Father: Wayne Line (Eric Barsness, cover)
Hansel: Anna Petrie
Gretel: Brooke Schooley
Witch: Emilie Storrs
Sandman: Alexandra Haines
Pianist: George Hemcher
Director: Carol Castel
Costumes: Nancy Hobbs

The career of DVO General Manager and Artistic Director Carol Castel has taken her through the theater world from musical theater to opera; from actress and singer to singing actress; from arts administrator to opera stage director. Her directing career has included over 60 opera productions in the U.S., Canada, and Europe. In addition to a studio of private voice students, Ms. Castel coaches and teaches classes in acting, artistry, and performance practices for the classical singer. She is on the faculty of OperaNUOVA in Edmonton, Canada, and is the founder and General Manager of the New York Opera Studio. For more information about Ms. Castel, visit her web site at www.castelopera.com. return to top

Mezzo-soprano Carol Diefenbach (Mother) was in the original Broadway cast and National Tour of Diamond Studs, and has performed various roles in repertory theatre, movies, and television. Twenty-five years ago, she had the privilege to co-found the Delaware Valley Opera, and has performed with the company in over 35 operas, operettas, concerts, and outreach programs. Ms. Diefenbach has been honored by the Women in the Arts, Who’s Who of American Women, and the University of American Women, teaches voice in affiliation with the Vocal Arts Foundation in New York City, and continues to perform regularly. return to top

The “robust” voice of baritone Wayne Line (Father) was recently praised as “well-articulated and well-projected, his acting fluid and dramatic” in Opera Canada, for his Vancouver portrayal of Eisenstein in Burnaby Lyric Opera’s Die Fledermaus. He performed Horace Tabor in the Canadian premier of The Ballad of Baby Doe, as well as the roles of Conte di Luna in Il Trovatore, Orveso in Norma, Gaylord Ravenal in Showboat, Belcore in L’Elisir d’Amore, Morales in Carmen, Marcello in La Boheme, and Count Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro. Mr. Line has sung Germont in La Traviata and Blitch in Carlisle Floyd’s Susannah for Opera in the Ozarks, Michele in Il Tabarro and Lazar Wolf in Fiddler on the Roof for The Natchez Festival of Music, and has performed major roles for Summer Opera Lyric Theater, Viva Musica, and South Florida Opera in the United States, Opera Missisauga in Canada, and the Società dei concerti di Santa Margherita in Italy. return to top

Mezzo-soprano Anna Petrie (Hansel) has sung Mercedes (Carmen), Third Lady (Die Zauberflöte), Hansel (Hansel and Gretel), Juno (Semele), Meg Page (Falstaff), and Cherubino (Le nozze di Figaro). Ms. Petrie has appeared as a guest artist with Pacific Encore Productions and the New York Chamber Virtuosi, and has given two solo recitals to benefit the Fond du Lac Center for Spirituality and Healing. She has sung with Opera New Jersey, Opera Breve, Amore Opera, and the New York Opera Studio, was a Studio Artist with Opera New Jersey in the 2010 season, and has participated in programs with the Martina Arroyo Foundation. Ms. Petrie lives in New York and studies with Lenora Eve, a disciple of the vocal pedagogue, Cornelius Reid. return to top

Soprano Brooke Schooley (Gretel) is a coloratura soprano acclaimed for her “florid runs and wonderful acting.” Since 2009, she has sung with the Bronx Opera, Empire Opera, Pacific Opera, New York Lyric Opera, The Light Opera Company of Salisbury, The Martina Arroyo Foundation, New York Opera Studio, and New York Opera Forum. Ms. Schooley has appeared as the Queen of the Night in Die Zauberflöte, Susanna in The Marriage of Figaro, Mabel in The Pirates of Penzance, Frasquita in Carmen, La Fée in Cendrillon, Adele in Die Fledermaus, Gretel in Hänsel und Gretel, Najade in Ariadne auf Naxos, and Oberto in Alcina. She resides in New York City. return to top

Soprano Emilie Storrs (Witch) has most recently been heard as Donna Elvira in Mozart’s Don Giovanni with Regina Opera, as well as the Countess in The Marriage of Figaro and Santuzza in Cavalleria Rusticana with New York City’s Amato Opera. She has performed Tatyana in Eugene Onegin with Bulgaria’s Burgas Opera and Philharmonic Society, Antonia in Les Contes d’Hoffmann and Violetta in La Traviata with the New York Opera Forum, and participated in the inaugural season of Opera Aegean, touring Greece and the Greek Islands in performances conducted by Sherrill Milnes. Career highlights include singing Lady Billows in Albert Herring’s fiftieth-anniversary performance­, performed in the same theatre in which the opera had its premiere, in Aldeburgh, England. In addition to being a Metropolitan Opera National Council Regional Semifinalist, Ms. Storrs has been awarded two Astral Career Grants from the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts, was a winner of the Fort Worth Opera Guild’s Marguerite McCammon Award for Vocal Excellence, and was a finalist in the Erwin Johnson Competition. return to top

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About the Opera

The idea for Hansel and Gretel was proposed to Humperdinck by his sister, who approached him about writing music for songs that she had written for her children for Christmas, based on the Grimm Brothers' popular fairy tale, Hänsel und Gretel. After several revisions, the musical sketches and the songs were turned into a full-scale opera.

Humperdinck composed Hansel and Gretel in Frankfurt am Main in 1891 and 1892. The opera was first performed in Weimar on 23 December 1893, conducted by Richard Strauss. It has been associated with Christmas since its earliest performances and today it is still most often performed at Christmas time.

Did You Know... Hansel and Gretel was the first complete Metropolitan Opera radio broadcast performance, on Christmas Day in 1931.


Synopsis of the Opera

Hansel and Gretel have been left at home alone. Their family is very poor and their father and mother are out in the villages trying to sell the products that Hansel and Gretel make; brooms and knitted socks. Like kids everywhere Hansel and Gretel would rather play than work. Their mother comes home tired and discouraged finds them dancing instead of working. She scolds them and in doing so spills a jug of milk which was their only dinner. Frustrated and angry she sends the children off to the woods to pick strawberries so the family would have something to eat that night.

The children leave and the Mother prays for heaven to send her so help. The Father arrives in great spirits because he has had a successful day selling. He brings a large bag full of food. The Mother is thrilled and relieved. The Father notices the childrens’ absence and when he finds out that they had been sent into the woods he explains to the Mother that in the woods the children are in danger from the horrible ogress who lives there. They both rush outside to search the woods for Hansel & Gretel.

Meanwhile Hansel & Gretel have almost filled their baskets with berries when in a playful game they both eat every berry they picked. They begin to fill their baskets again when they notice that the day is over and darkness is approaching. Hansel admits to Gretel that he is lost. They say their prayers and then spend the night in the woods

When morning comes the children wake up and find that a beautiful gingerbread house and a fence made of gingerbread cookies have appeared. They are delighted and begin to eat the candy and cookies. Soon an old woman appears and uses her evil magic to keep them prisoners. She explains that while she fattens up Hansel she will bake Gretel into a gingerbread cookie. The children watch the Witch and figure out her plans. When the Witch sets in action her plan to bake Gretel, Gretel tricks her instead and she and Hansel push the Witch into the oven. Hansel & Gretel notice that the fence of gingerbread cookies has become a row of children. Gretel uses the Witch’s wand to release the children from the evil spell. Just then the Father and Mother arrive looking for Hansel and Gretel. The happy family reunion is joined by the happy children who have been saved by Hansel and Gretel.

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Media Gallery

The opening of Hansel and Gretel, from the 1982 Metropolitan Opera production with Frederica von Stade (Hansel) and Judith Blegen (Gretel).