Hansel and Gretel: Opera for Kids! cover

Hansel and Gretel: Opera for Kids!


This fairytale adventure tells the story of two hungry children lost in an enchanted forest, an inviting gingerbread house and a wicked witch. This kid-friendly production features spoken narration, as well as the most charming and catchy tunes from the original opera, sung by talented opera singers, including students from Chapman University, who are joined by The All-American Boys Chorus.
Join in the fun at the interactive Musical Carnival, where kids can test drive a musical instrument, meet the performers, and enjoy musical arts and crafts activities themed to the morning's concert. Activities begins at 9 a.m. for 10 a.m. concertgoers and 12:15 p.m. for 11:30 a.m. concertgoers.
This is the first NoteStream on today's performance - you'll be automatically linked to Hansel and Gretel: The Performers at the end.
To meet today's Guest Performers, please click here.
To learn more about Music Director Roger Kalia, please click here.

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Hansel and Gretel: Opera for Kids!

Roger Kalia • Conductor | Peter Atherton • Director & Script Writer

Based on the opera Hansel and Gretel

Music by Engelbert Humperdinck

Words (Libretto) by Adelheid Wette

English Translation by Constance Bache

The Cast

Father: David Stoneman, baritone

Hansel: Erin Gonzalez, mezzo-soprano

Gretel: Emma-Grace Dunbar, soprano

Witch: Hannah Kidwell, soprano

Sandman: Alexandra Rupp, mezzo-soprano

Dew Fairy: Jasmine Rodriguez, soprano

Gingerbread Chorus: Sarah Bailey & Yllary Cajahuaringa, sopranos, Tanja Radic & Hannah Fan, sopranos* All-American Boys Chorus, Wesley Martin, music director


Jeffrey Goldberg, Father • Alexandra Rupp, Hansel • Yllary Cajahuaringa, Gretel

Erin Theodorakis, Witch • Tanja Radic, Sandman • Hannah Fan, Dew Fairy

Rehearsal Accompanist Minako Horimura

Rehearsal/Musical Carnival Accompanist Mark Salters

Graphic Image Designer Kurt Mortensen

Lighting Designer Katiana Brosz

Costume Coordinator Rosalind Britton

Costumes provided by the Rental Bootique, Santa Ana

These performances are generously underwritten by The Honorable H. Warren and Janet Siegel.

Dear Friends,

I am so proud and excited to present to you one of the greatest fairy-tale operas of all time: Hansel and Gretel by the German composer Engelbert Humperdinck (yes, that is his name!).

An opera is a story told through music and singing, and Humperdinck was one of Germany’s most famous opera composers.

Our story begins with Hansel and Gretel, who are brother and sister, wandering through the woods in search of strawberries. Gretel is a soprano, which is the highest of the women’s voices, and Hansel is a mezzo-soprano, which is the lowest of the women’s voices.

During their journey they encounter the Dew Fairy and Sandman, who serenade them.

They soon come across a gingerbread house with a nasty Witch inside, who is very scary and frightening. Can Hansel and Gretel escape the evil ways of the Witch? You will just have to wait and see!

During their adventure they encounter magical fairies, magic dust, flying broomsticks, angels and gingerbread children. Be sure to listen to the orchestra’s lush melodies, which beautifully capture the action that is happening on stage.

I hope you enjoy the opera as much as I do, and I can’t wait to see you at our next concert on March 25 where we journey to Camelot for “King Arthur and the Legend of the Dragon’s Lair.”

Music is life,

Roger Kalia

Spotlight On The Voice

One of the most powerful musical instruments isn’t made of wood or metal—it comes from your own body! The human voice is a unique instrument that can be used to speak, sing or even provide vocal percussion to make music.

When someone sings, they use many different parts of their body to create sound. Singers take in air to their lungs when they inhale, and exercise their diaphragm when they expel the air to sing or speak.

Since each person’s body is different, each person’s voice is unique. Some people have high voices, others have low voices and still others have medium voices.



In opera, these voice types have their own names.

Sopranos are the highest female voice type, while mezzo-sopranos have lower voices. Male voice types include the tenor or high male voice, the baritone or medium-low voice and bass or lowest voice.

Spotlight on Opera

An opera is a musical story. Opera singers of different voice types make up the cast, or characters, in the story. They act and sing throughout the whole opera illustrating the plot through the libretto, or lyrics.

Opera singers are usually adults who train their voices to be powerful enough to sing over a whole orchestra! Because orchestras are often so big and powerful in operas, many times young adults play the roles of children when a character has to sing alone so that we can hear their voices over the orchestra, just like you'll see today with Hansel and Gretel.

Pants Roles

1779 John Colley Playbill of an actress dressing in breeches.

Pants Roles

But why is Hansel sung by a young woman and not a young man? Since young mezzo-sopranos have a similar vocal range to boys, composers will often have them sing "pants roles," or basically pretend to be a boy onstage. Even though we don't often have children singing alone in operas, we do have them singing together in a chorus, as you will see today. Singing together, children can create a lot of vocal power!

Spotlight On Englebert Humperdinck

Engelbert Humperdinck 1854. Source: What We Hear in Music, Anne S. Faulkner, Victor Talking Machine Co., 1913.

Spotlight On Englebert Humperdinck

Englebert Humperdinck was a German composer born in 1854. He wrote his first composition at the age of 7 years old! His musical talent led him to pursue a career in music.

He studied first at the Cologne Conservatory, then traveled all over Europe.

He met another composer, Richard Wagner, while he was in Italy, and helped produce the opera Parsifal. Humperdinck's contact with Wagner greatly influenced his writing and can be seen in works such as Hansel and Gretel.

He was the first composer to use Sprechgesang, or a vocal technique halfway between singing and speaking. After his travels, he made his living as a teacher and composer until his death in 1921.

To meet today's Guest Performers, please click here.

To learn more about Music Director Roger Kalia, please click here.