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'So lucky': Surrey staging of 'Hansel And Gretel' gets timely help from new arrivals

Crescendo opera company's show involves close to 40 people including a key couple from Brazil

With the help of a Brazilian "power couple" new to the area, Crescendo Operatic Society is busy bringing a version of Hansel And Gretel to a Surrey stage.

The popular fairy tale has four show times June 21-23 at Surrey Arts Centre's Studio Theatre, including evenings and afternoons, for audiences of all ages. Tickets are sold on, or call 604-501-5566.

Crescendo's artistic director, Dolores Scott, almost had to postpone the musical due to health issues in her family, but along came a couple from São Paulo to help save the day. Natan Bádue is conducting Hansel And Gretel with the help of his wife, singer Sheila Negro.

"Honestly, just out of the sky, literally like a month ago, the pastor at Trinity Lutheran Church (where the show is rehearsed in North Delta) happened to meet this couple from Brazil because their daughters are the same age, and they were introduced," Scott recalled.

"We met one day and they were completely on board with our vision of making an opera-awareness program through participation. They were really excited, and quickly got involved in our show. I mean, we're so lucky to have them help. I'm a little big agog and still blinking my eyes."

Crescendo aims to offer "affordable opportunities for singers to learn about performing in the practical setting of production," says the website for the company, which was launched in 2005 as Young People's Opera Society of BC. "In this respect it is a unique organization with weekly rehearsals and several performances a year."

More than two centuries ago the Brothers Grimm wrote Hansel And Gretel, adapted decades later as an opera by Engelbert Humperdinck. Crescendo's production involves close to 40 people stage-directed by Robin Hahn.

"There's good singing in this show by people who've grown up with us. I'm really excited about this cast," raved Scott, who says an interesting aspect of the production is what she calls the "chor-chestra," or choir-orchestra, singing orchestra parts. 

"We're double-cast, and everyone is pitching in. Robin is amazing, and she has a wonderful concept of the haunted wood being these glowing mushrooms. Hansel And Gretel is one of those stories that make you sort of scratch your head because it's supposedly for children, and all the Grimm fairy tales are a little bit scary. There's always a little bit of caution when it comes to saying, 'This is for children,' because it is a little bit on the scary side."



Tom Zillich

About the Author: Tom Zillich

I cover entertainment, sports and news for Surrey Now-Leader and Black Press Media
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