RNCM Opera brings classic fairytale to the backstreets of Manchester

RNCM Opera remains close to home this Spring, bringing Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel to the eerie backstreets of Manchester.

Based on the magical and somewhat dark Brothers’ Grimm tale, Hansel and Gretel is possibly the most operatic fairytale of them all. For this production, we turn the clock back to the 1890s where a young brother and sister run away from their poor hunger-stricken home to the lamp lit streets of our industrial city, with its possibilities but also its dangers.

Produced in collaboration with Grange Park Opera, Hansel and Gretel is directed by Stephen Medcalf (Glyndebourne, Royal Opera House, La Scala) and conducted by Anthony Kraus (fresh from his production of Opera North’s Madama Butterfly). It features talented students from the School of Vocal Studies and Opera, with set and costume design by Yannis Thavoris – who worked his magic on the RNCM’s award-nominated December production of Massenet’s Cendrillon.

Kevin Thraves, Deputy Head of Opera, said: ‘I am thrilled to announce the forthcoming RNCM Opera production of Hansel and Gretel will be produced in collaboration with Grange Park Opera. It is extremely exciting for the RNCM to be associated with one of Europe’s leading opera festivals. I would like to thank Wasfi Kani, the founder of Grange Park Opera, for instigating this collaboration with us.

‘RNCM Opera provides our students with exceptional opportunities to learn from industry professionals. For this production, we are delighted to welcome director Stephen Medcalf and conductor Anthony Kraus. It is wonderful to have designer Yannis Thavoris back on the creative team following his stunning work on our award-nominated production of Cendrillon.’

While Hansel and Gretel contains dark elements it also explores wider themes, juxtaposing good versus evil. It touches upon aspects of faith, spirituality and is a ‘coming of age’ story – a tale of transition, redemption and resolution. Humperdinck’s music magically evokes the contrasting worlds of the story and the sweeping but accessible score is much admired for its catchy folk-inspired tunes, including the ‘Children’s Dance’, ‘Evening Prayer’ and ‘Witch’s Spell’.

Each year, RNCM Opera presents three varied productions. Recent highlights include Massenet’s Cendrillon, Handel’s Theodora, Offenbach’s La Vie Parisienne, Mozart’s Così fan tutte, Weill’s Street Scene and a vocal and jazz band event – Too Darn Hot. To date, the RNCM boasts a substantial list of successful vocal and opera alumni, many of whom are now tutors at the College. A significant number of alumni also appear regularly at major international opera houses and concert halls, including Barry Banks, Alice Coote, Sara Fulgoni, Simon Keenlyside, David Kempster, Andrew Shore, Dame Ann Murray and Sir John Tomlinson. Recent alumni who have sung internationally include Kathryn Rudge, Soraya Mafi, Sarah Tynan, Christopher Turner and Nadine Livingston.

Read more and book tickets for Hansel and Gretel here

12 February 2018