The music took center stage as it silhouetted stellar performances of Gretel, played by Yvonne Fiedler, and Hansel played by Aubrey Cole’s. as the orchestra providing music that smoothly transitioned each scene.
David Aks’ seemingly flawless conducting of the CSUN orchestra dressed the play with an unforgettable soundtrack of melody and rhythm. It poignantly underlined the atmosphere of the story.
The simple set-design showed a budget-imited but enthusiastic design effort. Overall, the opera was entertaining, even for a novice opera fanatic, and musically enchanting.
The cast put on a lively show with a visible energy and polished singing voices.
Fiedler’s facial expressions during the show conveyed the innocence of her character to the audience. As she placed flowers in a crown in one of the forest scenes, her face looked like that of a young girl full of wonder. Her singing, with an incredible range and vibrato, remained consistent throughout the performance.
Cole’s Hansel was also a superb performance. Her characterization of the little boy was energetic, and simply fun to watch. She mastered that clumsy little walk of a young boy preoccupied with being mature. Her comedic acting seemed punctuated by a hilarious scene where Hansel insisted on proving to his sister he was “man” enough to brave the forest. Cole’s transitions between scenes were well-done, with consistent singing and acting. Neither Hansel nor Gretel broke character once and they put on a fabulous show.
Jeremy Eichberg, as the witch, and Travis Haase, as the father, also brought a dynamic performance to the stage. Eichberg’s dancing was hilarious, and his witch’s laugh was the perfect accompaniment to his performance. Haase surprised in the role of father, and really developed his character. From the moment he began to sing on stage, until the curtain closed, he filled the theater with his energy, making the father character memorable.
The set left much to be desired. While a fog machine was used, it did not make up for the lack of set design. The forest backdrop was well done. The hand-painted work was of a high quality. The costumes also added a rustic German flair to the fairy tale.
Connie Llanos can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.