Opera Scotland

Hansel and Gretel 2023Scottish Opera

Read more about the opera Hansel and Gretel

Scottish Opera Music Director Stuart Stratford conducted The Orchestra of Scottish Opera and an excellent young cast gave two 'concert performances' of Humperdinck's ever-popular charmer.  How do you define a concert performance?  These were in fact semi-staged - fully acted out in costume, just with no scenery.  The result was extremely enjoyable, with absolutely no allowances needing to be made.

These two performances were added to the season's events at a late stage, long after the full 2023-24 programme was announced, which is in itself an encouraging sign. But then most of the participants were salaried employees, so the additional costs must actually have been quite low.  It is also good news that Paisley's Town Hall has been restored.  The addition of such a beautiful venue to the company's tour schedule is definitely to be welcomed.

The cast was of high quality, and it  was interesting to see how Shuna Scott Sendall differentiated her two characters of Mother and Witch.  It is not unknown for Mum to be the more frightening of the two, and that was really the case here.

The other cast members were younger - Emerging Artists and the like.  Ross Cumming had a spectacular success as Peter.  His baritone was effortlessly powerful and smoothly produced.  Catriona Hewitson's sweet-toned soprano was nonetheless quite powerful and dramatic as Gretel.  Lea Shaw was an excellent Hansel, while Inna Husieva gave beautiful renderings of her two short solos.

Sir David Pountney prepared his translation for a staging he directed at ENO a good few years ago.  There he had that Scottish institution Donald Maxwell as Dad.  The double role of mother and witch was played by a wonderful singing actress, the late Pauline Tinsley.  Pountney of course began his operatic career over fifty years ago, joining Scottish Opera as a staff producer straight from university.  He stayed with the company for many years, working his way up to Director of Productions before absconding to play the same role at ENO.  It is nice to be reminded of that period in the company's history.

The Paisley audience gave a hugely enthusiastic reception to this excellent performance, with plenty of young kids in the audience at this Saturday matinee, as well as the twenty excellent members of the Junior Chorus.

Performance Cast


Lea Shaw


Catriona Hewitson

Gertrude mother of Hansel and Gretel

Shuna Scott Sendall

Peter a broom maker and father of Hansel and Gretel

Ross Cumming


Inna Husieva

Dew Fairy

Inna Husieva


Shuna Scott Sendall

Performance DatesHansel and Gretel 2023

Map List

Town Hall, Paisley | Paisley

14 Dec, 19.15 16 Dec, 15.00

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