Opera Scotland

Hansel and Gretel 2021Scottish Opera

Read more about the opera Hansel and Gretel

The Covid-19 Coronavirus laid waste to all of Scottish Opera's original scheduling.  From the summer of 2020 the company made a brave attempt to produce effective performances that could be created under the necessary social distancing requirements, without an audience.  The filmed product could then be issued online and then made available through the company's website.

After a continuation of the Opera Highlights tour,  the first example was a well-known two-hander, The Telephone by Menotti.  This was followed by a newly commissioned piece, The Narcissistic Fish,  Next came another piece composed in a single act,  The Diary of One Who Disappeared, the eighth  Janáček work to be staged by Scottish Opera.   These relatively cheap items were successful and allowed for further plans.  The next production was a more familiar work,  La bohème, played in the car park at the Scottish Opera workshops in Edington Street, Glasgow.

By this time, the company was working on the essential physical changes that could be done to allow the Theatre Royal to br brought back into use.  These mainly involved  substantial improvements to ventilation in the orchestra pit and the auditorium., as well as on stage.  The first opera to benefit from this was Così fan tutte.  Next the choice fell on Hansel and Gretel.  This is an opera frequently served up at Christmas, and this production was filmed at the Theare Royal on 19 December 2020.  The premiere of its public on line showing came a couple of months later, on 10 February with access through the company's Youtube or Facebook.

The orchestra was placed on the stage, with David Parry level with the proscenim.  The acting area was in front of this, over the orchestra pit.  The band was barely visible, screened off by a row of conifers.  The sound balance was not always ideal - sometimes the strings sounded a bit thin, though there were plenty of them listed in the credits.

Most of the singing reached a very high standard.  The playing of mother and witch by one singer is now becoming quite common and must provide a thoroughly enjoyable contrast for the artist concerned, in this case Nadine Benjamin.  She made quite a glamorous witch, with an elaborate and colourful  costume.  Phillip Rhodes not long ago sang the father in an Opera North production that was seen in Newcastle and he was just as good now.

The title roles were played by Kitty Whately, familiar from a couple of Perth Festival visits, and Rhian Lois, last year's Musetta.  Lois was a near ideal  Gretel, with a sweet-toned, but quite powerful voice.  Whately sang beautifully, but didn't quite catch the boyishness.  Charlie Drummond was excellent in her two short roles.

Performance Cast


Rhian Lois


Kitty Whately

Gertrude mother of Hansel and Gretel

Nadine Benjamin

Peter a broom maker and father of Hansel and Gretel

Phillip Rhodes


Charlie Drummond

Dew Fairy

Charlie Drummond


Nadine Benjamin

Performance DatesHansel and Gretel 2021

Map List

Theatre Royal, Glasgow | Glasgow

10 Feb, 18.00

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