Vancouver Opera opens season with wonderful fairytale story of Hansel & Gretel

Vancouver Opera has brought to life a new family-friendly production of the beloved fairytale opera Hansel and Gretel, featuring larger-than-life puppet creations, costume design, and sets of world-famous Calgary-based Old Trout Puppet Workshop. Perfect for children and adults alike, this show is a magical night with great visuals and beautiful singing.

The puppetry and costumes were the star of this show, occasionally making me forget about the other characters on stage. The set pieces were cartoony without being outlandish, and the characters developed such wonderful personalities with very short stage-time.

This was a very accessible show for children. It’s theatrical, colourful, and not too long, to introduce kids to this world without an overly complex stage design or intricate conceptual ideas that might go over their heads. It’s a reduced production from the original, and translated to English for easier understanding as well. Occasionally that makes it feel a little rushed in the third act. The witch (Ryan Downey) was so fantastic, I could have watched their interaction with the children for a lot longer.

I find sopranos seem to have a harder time enunciating than their lower register counterparts, so even though this was translated to English I occasionally felt a little out of the loop. Contextually there was no problem, and subtitles were available, but there was still the initial misunderstanding that made things a bit difficult.

Overall this was a fun show, perfect for children and adults alike. Hansel and Gretel runs November 24 through December 11. Tickets: VO Ticket Centre 604-683-0222 or online at

Photo credit: Emily Cooper

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