‘Hansel and Gretel’ get lost, wind up in Queens

Engelbert Humperdinck’s marvelous score and sparkling melodies played by a full orchestra will transform a classic Grimm Brothers fairy tale into an operatic masterpiece and a perfect treat for the family at Queens College.

The school’s joint production between the Drama, Theatre and Dance Department and the Aaron Copland School of Music will be a new adaptation by Doris Lang Kosloff of Humperdinck’s “Hansel and Gretel,” directed by Charles Repole.

Hansel and Gretel’s mother sends her children out to the forest to collect strawberries, but the children get lost and fall asleep. The next day, they happen upon a house made of cake and sugar. They start eating the house and are kidnapped by the wicked witch. The witch casts a spell that prevents the children from leaving. Will the children be able to outsmart the witch before she puts them in her oven?

Composer Richard Strauss called Humperdinck’s “Hansel and Gretel” “a masterpiece of the highest quality.” “Hansel and Gretel,” which Humperdinck began work on only after his sister asked him to compose music for a play for her children in 1890, was first staged in Weimar, Germany, in 1893.

Repole, directing a cast of students and guest artists, is an associate professor in the Drama, Theatre and Dance Department. He has a wide range of directing experience from Broadway to the Kennedy Center to Carnegie Hall.

Kosloff, author of this new adaptation, teaches at the college and has held numerous prominent positions in the opera world, including executive director of the Hartford Camerata Conservatory, Artistic Director and Managing Director of the Connecticut Opera and the Waterbury Opera Theatre.

Other notables involved include scenic designer Todd Potter, whose work has led him all over the country, including Broadway, the Metropolitan Opera House, and the San Francisco Opera House; and Daniel Cole, the costume designer, who is an assistant professor at Queens College and who has worked in stage, opera, film and television, recently designing costumes for the college’s presentation of “Electra.”

All performances will be conducted on the main stage in the Queens College Theatre (the Goldstein Theatre) on the following dates and times:

Wednesday, March 17, 7 p.m.; Thursday, March 18, 7 p.m.; Saturday, March 20, 8 p.m.; and Sunday, March 21, 3 p.m..

For reservations and tickets, contact the Colden Center Box Office at 718-793-8080. Queens College is located at 65-30 Kissena Boulevard, at the corner of the Long Island Expressway and Kissena Blvd in Flushing, Queens.

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