Scottish Opera is presenting Engelbert Humperdinck’s magical fairy tale, Hansel & Gretel, in a bright and vivid new concert staging at Paisley Town Hall in December.
The concert performances will help celebrate the reopening of the iconic 19th-century Town Hall which has undergone a multimillion-pound transformation.
Scottish Opera Music Director Stuart Stratford conducts The Orchestra of Scottish Opera and a cast that includes the Company’s Associate Artist Lea Shaw (Carmen 2023) as Hansel and former Emerging Artist Catriona Hewitson (Daphne 2023) as Gretel, with former Associate Artist Heather Ireson (Il trittico 2023) in the dual role of the Mother and the Witch.
Current Scottish Opera Emerging Artists Ross Cumming and Inna Husieva (both seen in this year’s Daphne) appear as the Father and The Sandman and The Dew Fairy respectively, along with a children’s chorus. Roxana Haines (Rubble 2022) directs this English translation by David Pountney.
After being banished from home by their exasperated mother, Hansel and Gretel plunge deep into the forest on a grand adventure. But not everything is as it seems in this enchanted wood. The young pair will need every ounce of courage, cleverness, and hope if they’re to escape the lure of the Witch and her gingerbread hut. The classic fairy tale’s world of magic, fireflies, and fairies comes to life through Humperdinck’s lush and majestic score, which has something for every listener – from the beautiful ‘Evening Prayer’ to enchanting folk-inspired melodies.
Scottish Opera General Director, Alex Reedijk said: “Here at Scottish Opera, we have a great affection for Paisley, having had the warmest of welcomes when we opened our orchestra rehearsal rooms in Hillington in 2017 and brought our 2018 production of Pagliacci to Seedhill Playing Fields, as well as our collaboration with Disney in Schools to pupils at Todholm Primary in Paisley, St James’ Primary in Renfrew, and St Anthony’s Primary in Johnstone in recent years.
“The Orchestra of Scottish Opera is also supporting the upcoming production of Macbeth by our friends at Paisley Opera, which was founded by Simon Hannigan who worked with us regularly over the years.
“It’s a thrill to be staging Hansel & Gretel at Paisley Town Hall — recently transformed into a landmark entertainment venue — in December for two very special performances, so we hope you can join us!”
Director Roxana Haines said: ‘Follow Hansel and Gretel into an enchanted world though the doors of Paisley Town Hall, for an immersive, magic-filled journey deep into the woods. Sprinkled with joy and generosity, this fairy tale is dedicated to our children and our childhood selves, for all their courage, resilience and perspective.’
Councillor Lisa Marie Hughes, Chair of OneRen, the charitable trust which operates Paisley Town Hall, said: “We’re delighted to welcome back Scottish Opera to Paisley Town Hall. The venue has undergone an incredible £22 million refurbishment, creating one of Scotland’s finest performance venues.
“We can’t wait to welcome families to enjoy a festive performance of Hansel & Gretel from the wonderfully talented Scottish Opera team.
“It promises to be an amazing show on Paisley’s ‘new’ big stage.”
You can book tickets at www.scottishopera.org.uk.
Image Credit: Scottish Opera
Paisley Town Hall: Thursday 14th December 2023, 7.15pm & Saturday 16th December 2023, 3pm (Matinee)
- Adult: £22
- Concessions: £18 for over 60s, wheelchair users, people with disabilities and art workers (please bring ID)
- Under 26s: £15
- Under 16s and jobseekers: £6