Hansel and Gretel at New Theatre Royal

Katherine Ryan

REVIEW: Katherine Ryan at the Portsmouth Guildhall

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The icing on the cake of Co-Opera Co’s performance was the moment the witch’s house of the Grimm Brothers’ imagination emerged from the dark forest – with the witch herself riding supreme.

That piece of staging highlighted not only the wit evident in so many facets of Co-Opera Co’s production of the original Engelbert Humperdinck’s opera, but the vocal and acting triumph of Carris Jones. She sang with mighty expression and more unusually acted with panache, both as the witch and as the children’s mother.

Co-Opera Co exists to give singers emerging from music college opportunities to perform in smaller venues where voices are not put under undue strain, but of course none is as young as Hansel and Gretel. That gave Llio Evans (soprano) and Susanne Holmes (mezzo) lots of scope for re-living childhood japes, and they relished it

The whole opera was firmly guided by conductor Stephen Higgins.