Introducing the cast of Mid Wales Opera’s Hansel & Gretel
With just over a month to go until the show, we’re delighted to be introducing the cast of Mid Wales Opera’s Hansel & Gretel.
Mid Wales Opera (MWO) are working with some familiar faces on this production – including soprano Alys Mererid Roberts and baritone Philip Smith, our Princess and King from this Autumn’s Puss in Boots tour who carry on their father/daughter relationship as Gretel and her Father. We’re also delighted to welcome some newcomers to MWO including Plymouth born singer Charlotte Badham who is joining us as Hansel.
Charlotte grew up with folk music, and Hansel was her first leading role in college so she is thrilled to be joining our company to perform this folk-inspired fairy-tale opera. She told us:
“The piece is littered with folk-inspired music themes which really appeals to me as a singer – I’ve grown up listening to a lot of folk and you can often find me at a sea shanty festival in deepest, darkest Cornwall. One of the folk tunes that Gretel sings at the top of Act II was the first song I learnt with my first ever singing teacher at the age of 7 – I’m a bit sad Hansel doesn’t get to sing it but it’s still a bit of a full circle moment.”
We’re also thrilled to be joined by Montgomeryshire-based mezzo soprano Rebecca Afonwy-Jones, making her stage debut with Mid Wales Opera, and her first ever appearance at her home theatre Hafren, Newtown.
Rebecca, who grew up in Montgomeryshire and still lives just 12 miles from Newtown, has sung for prestigious companies across the UK and beyond. She regularly visited Hafren as a child and has supported friends appearing in MWO’s previous performances – but never performed there herself. She joins us in the twin role of Mother/Witch and returning to her, and our, home county of Montgomeryshire to sing in her first MWO production.
“When I was a child we used to see all kinds of things at Hafren and I have watched various BBC NOW concerts and of course MWO shows to support colleagues in the past but I have never performed there. Given that it’s the nearest theatre to my home – about 12 miles! – it will be a lovely occasion and I think a few local friends and relations might find their way there to cheer us on!”
Hansel and Gretel is based on the Brothers Grimm’s fairy-tale, two children are banished to the enchanted woods by their hungry, frustrated mother. When their father returns and learns of their whereabouts, he reveals to their mother the true terrors of the gingerbread Witch, and the two of them hurry out to find them.
Meanwhile, out in the woods, the two children get lost before wandering into the clutches of the Witch who is determined to fatten them up and turn them into gingerbread. At the last minute the Witch is outwitted, and the gingerbread figures that surround the Witch’s house are revealed as dead children waiting to be brought back to life.
North Walian soprano Siân Roberts, who grew up in Rhos-on-Sea, is also making her MWO debut, performing as The Dew Fairy in Humperdinck’s fairy tale opera Hansel and Gretel in Pontio in Bangor.
Sian told us:
“I love North Wales and am back there as often as possible now to see my family, I really think there is nowhere more beautiful! My role is the Dew Fairy! I wake the children from their sleep and welcome the morning. Although it’s only small, it’s such a fun role and fulfils a childhood dream – who didn’t want to be a fairy when they grew up?!”
MWO will be joined in all our venues by children from local choirs and theatre schools, performing the opera’s children’s chorus in a new Welsh translation by MWO regular, tenor Robyn Lyn Evans.
Age guidance 8+ – contains a wicked witch and scenes of peril.