Grimm tid­ings in the woods

Canning Gazette - - OPERA - Tanya Macnaughto­n

THE City of Perth's free an­nual Opera in the Park event re­turns to Supreme Court Gar­dens on Fe­bru­ary 22, when WA Opera will im­merse the au­di­ence in the world of

The pop­u­lar opera by Ger­man com­poser En­gel­bert Humperdinc­k brings the Brothers Grimm fairy­tale to life while me­dia artist So­han Ariel Hayes, who worked on Boorna Waanginy, will trans­form the park into a for­est with pro­jec­tion, light and im­agery.

Ashlyn Tymms and Pia Har­ris are play­ing the ti­tle char­ac­ters of Hansel and Gre­tel re­spec­tively in the con­cert per­for­mance, the two singers rel­ish­ing their roles and Tymms con­tin­u­ing the tra­di­tion of Hansel sung by a mezzo so­prano.

“It's great get­ting to play a child be­cause gen­er­ally as a woman your part is ei­ther about go­ing crazy or be­ing in love, which is a fine line,” Mt Pleas­ant so­prano Har­ris said.

“I'm lucky be­cause I get to work with my close friends Ash Tymms and as­sis­tant di­rec­tor Matt Ward; we all met at London's Royal Col­lege of Mu­sic.

“I feel so for­tu­nate to be able to de­velop this piece with Ash be­cause ob­vi­ously our chem­istry is so nat­u­ral and we're build­ing on what we al­ready have.”

This will be the first Opera in the Park for English Na­tional Opera-trained Har­ris, who re­turned home to Perth two years ago and spends her year be­tween WA Opera, Opera Hol­land Park London and New York Lyric Opera, where she has also per­formed as Gre­tel.

“The one in New York was a lot more tra­di­tional and sung in Ger­man; this one is in English,” Har­ris said.

“There are two dif­fer­ent end­ings to the fairy­tale but we'll be per­form­ing Humperdinc­k's ver­sion, which is much more fam­i­lyfriendly.

“It's such an im­por­tant event for Perth and WA Opera be­cause our ver­sion of this opera is so in­clu­sive that ev­ery­one can en­joy it.

“We are all ex­cited and just wish we could do more than one per­for­mance. I feel like it's a win­ner and it's go­ing to be amaz­ing.”

The con­cert starts at 8pm and will be livestream­ed via the WA Opera Face­book page.

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