The North Carolina Central University Department of Music’s Operatorio Performance Ensemble will present German composer Engelbert Humperdinck’s “Hansel and Gretel” on April 3 and 4 at 7 p.m. in the B. N. Duke Auditorium. NCCU music majors, faculty, alumni and members of the C.C. Spaulding Elementary School Glee Club will take part. The performance is free and open to the public.
The opera is based on the Grimm brothers fairy tale and was first performed in 1893 in Germany. The idea for the opera was originally proposed to Humperdinck by his sister Adelheid Wette to accompany songs she had written for her children for Christmas.
NCCU artist-in-residence Elvira Green is thrilled to bring this production to NCCU and to work with the students of C.C. Spaulding Elementary, where NCCU alumna Jasmine Issac is director of the Glee Club. “This production will introduce a younger audience to this art form and the NCCU Department of Music,” Green said. Since January, 10 members of the Glee Club have been rehearsing at NCCU with Green and Isaac. They will perform the role of the angels and gingerbread children.
Music majors performing in the ensemble have studied using the sol-fa or solfège technique for teaching sight-singing in which each note of the score is sung to a special syllable.
Operatorio, a combination of operatic singing and oratorical sacred music, originated from African-American composer Valerie Gale Capers, who wrote “Sojourner,” based on the life of Sojourner Truth. The production was performed and staged by the Opera Ebony Co. of New York, with Green starring in the world premiere.