Photo Journal: Puppetmaster Basil Twist's Hansel and Gretel at Houston Grand Opera

Classic Arts News   Photo Journal: Puppetmaster Basil Twist's Hansel and Gretel at Houston Grand Opera
 
East Texas opera fans of all ages are getting a tasty holiday treat this year, as Houston Grand Opera presents a new production of Humperdinck's Christmastime favorite, H‹nsel und Gretel, by Basil Twist.

The gifted puppeteer has provided some marvelous creations, which you can see below: gingerbread men who actually look like cookies, a Dew Fairy who looks (fittingly) like a dragonfly, an enormous (and very wicked) Witch with Cruella DeVil hair. He's even put the parents on stilts so that the adult singers playing Hansel and Gretel look like children. And when the siblings lie down to sleep in Act II, Charles Ward observed in The Houston Chronicle, "only a master puppeteer could get soprano Rebekah Camm and mezzo-soprano Fiona Murphy to nestle together like puppets coming to graceful rest."

As for that dastardly Witch, Ward wrote, "baritone Liam Bonner triumphed ... He gave her character to spare. His laughs calmed and curdled. His pure singing was polished. His movement in the elaborate puppet was over the top. He was in his element."

Humperdinck's H‹nsel und Gretel, conducted by Houston Grand Opera Studio head Kathleen Kelly and directed by Basil Twist, continues at the Wortham Theater Center in Houston through this Saturday, December 23.

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All photos by Brett Coomer.


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