The trees are alive to the sound of singing!
So it was on July 27 at Bentley Country Park when Humperdinck’s classic fairytale opera, Hansel and Gretel, was performed in its real setting- a beautiful and slightly sinister wood at Bentley Park.
Devised and Directed by Opera Singer, Pippa Dames-Longworth and produced by Director, Ptolemy Christie, the opera was distilled to its key moments comprising a series of short scenes performed as a promenade show throughout the wood.
The magical journey started on the miniature railway.
The audience chugged around the track before being dropped off at the Wood Station where they were greeted by a troupe of singers and the Pied Piper and his clarinet.
Playing excerpts from the opera, the Pied Piper set off into the wood and the audience dutifully fell in behind. There followed four scenes in four places in the wood.
The beautiful Sandman/ Evening Prayer scene when the children lost in the wood are visited by the Sandman who wishes them good dreams, was stunning in its simplicity played on a bed of hay within a glade.
And cleverly situated within pine trees we came across the Gingerbread House designed by Tania Dean and made of real gingerbread and liquorice allsorts.
The Witches scene was truly memorable. She started coaxing and charming before cackling and screeching as her henchman, a terrifying werewolf, dragged Hansel and Gretel to the oven, only for the Witch and Wolf to end up in the oven themselves.
The superb cast, all members of Pippa Dames-Longworth’s Singing Salon, performed with great commitment, energy and the sound was crystal clear. And as the performance finished and people started to applaud, so nature joined in and gave her own seal of approval with a huge thunder clap- a fitting end to a memorable and magical experience.
By Sam von Meister