Hansel & Gretel | Lyric Opera House | Classical | Chicago Reader

Hansel & Gretel Recommended Soundboard

When: Fri., Dec. 14, 2 p.m. and Sun., Dec. 16, 2 p.m. 2012

The ads for Lyric Opera’s production of Engelbert Humperdinck’s Hansel & Gretel promise a surreal spectacle: a line of huge-headed, toque-topped chefs and a large fish in a tux and white gloves serve the siblings a sumptuous feast at a candelabra-decked stretch of table. So it’s odd that spectacle is where this production sometimes falls short. A few supernumeraries with branches on their heads don’t make for an overwhelming and mysterious forest; a modestly proportioned chocolate cake is not a walk-in gingerbread house. But adults will be amused by post-Humperdinck cultural allusions (Julia Child, the Rolling Stones), and kids will get into the food-fight vibe of the witch’s kitchen. Plus the performances are winning all around. A pair of Ryan Center alumni, soprano Maria Kanyova and mezzo-soprano Elizabeth DeShong, are the gawky sister and brother of the title; soprano Julie Makerov and baritone Brian Mulligan, both in gorgeous voice, are their flawed parents; and mezzo-soprano Jill Grove is the blithely cannibalistic witch. Former Lyric trombonist and maestro in the making Ward Stare conducts the Lyric Opera orchestra. Performances continue through January 19, after a break for the holidays. —Deanna Isaacs

Price: $54-$279

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