You probably know the work of Maurice Sendak. He's the man who wrote and designed such children's books as Where The Wild Things Are and In the Night Kitchen. His creatures are big, bold and scary monsters with attitude.
Artist/author Sendak also designs for the stage. You can see his work in two upcoming operas being presented by the Canadian Opera in rep at the end of January and beginning of February. For the Humperdinck opera Hansel and Gretel, Sendak has apparently designed some breathtaking set pieces, including a gingerbread house that moves.
Several North American opera companies have chipped in to co-produce. Already the production has received critical acclaim at the Houston Grand Opera and the Julliard Opera School in New York.
To make the opera totally accessible to kids of all ages, the classic Brothers Grimm tale is being presented in English.
Sendak has also designed sets and costumes for Janacek's The Cunning Little Vixen, a satirical opera about a fox. The cast has 42 animal characters, including a badger, a dog, a hen, a cock and an owl. The fox is played by soprano Rebecca Caine, who starred as Christine Daae alongside Colm Wilkinson, in the Canadian production of The Phantom of the Opera. Vixen will be in Czech with English surtitles.
Both operas will be at the Hummingbird Centre for the Performing Arts beginning January 23 and ending February 8. For tickets and exact performance dates call 416-872-2262.
-- By Mira Friedlander