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20/11 - Concordia Foundation 'Young Audiences' Production - St Paul's Church, Covent Garden

  • St Paul's Church Covent Garden Bedford St, London WC2E 9ED (map)
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Hansel & Gretel - A Whistle Stop opera

With music from the opera by Engelbert Humperdinck

Shows: 11.30am & 1.00pm (duration: 1 hour)

FREE entry but booking is essential to avoid disappointment. Contact Concordia:

Do you ever daydream...?

Join the Sandman, Hansel, Gretel - and an accordionist! - as they take you on a whistle stop tour of the quirky fairytale Hansel and Gretel, designed especially for children who may not have experienced an opera before.

Presented in a light-hearted and fresh way by four opera singers and an accordionist, the production, originally devised for Opera North, is inspired by the Brothers Grimm fairytale of two hungry children unable to resist the wicked witch's delicious gingerbread house, in the heart of the eerie woods. The Sandman invites the audience to use their imaginations to conjure up a daydream, resulting in a magical, comic, punchy reimagining of Engelbert Humperdinck's opera.

Polly Leech (Hansel) is a mezzo-soprano from Wiltshire, currently training as a 2017/18 a Young Artist at the National Opera Studio. She graduated last year from the Royal College of Music, having gained a postgraduate Masters in Vocal Performance (Distinction) under vocal professor Amanda Roocroft and vocal coach Christopher Glynn. She was the Theo Max van der Beugel Scholar and was also supported by the Josephine Baker Trust. Polly is a Britten-Pears Young Artist.

Ellie Laugharne (Gretel) played the role of Gretel for this project with Opera North. Recently, she sang Zerlina in Don Giovanni and the Governess in The Turn of the Screw with Opera Holland Park, Barbarina/Susanna (cover) in Le Nozze di Figaro for both ENO and Opera North, Emirena in Adriano in Siria for Classical Opera, with whom she is currently an Associate Artist, Tina in Flight for OHP, Beethoven Choral Fantasy at the Edinburgh International Festival, Frasquita in Scottish Opera's revival of Carmen and Despina for Opera North's Cosi fan tutte.

Andrea Tweedale (Witch/Mother and drama workshop leader) Soprano Andrea Tweedale was born in Bedfordshire and read Music at the University of Sheffield before attending the RNCM for postgraduate studies. Whilst at the RNCM, Andrea gained a Masters of Music and a Postgraduate Diploma in solo performance, both with Distinction studying under Thomas Schulze and Sarah Rhodes. Andrea’s studies were generously supported by an Independent Opera Scholarship and the Busenhart Morgan Evans award from the Worshipful Company of Musicians. After graduating, Andrea was the RNCM recipient of a fellowship from Independent Opera at Saddler’s Wells 2013/2014. She currently enjoys a rich and varied career as a freelance Soprano, working with companies including Opera North and Charles Court Opera, teaching singing to young people, and leading workshops.

John Savournin (Sandman / Writer / Director) Recent credits include Trial by Jury for Opera North; The Magic Flute, Charles Court Opera at Iford Arts, a ‘Whistle-stop’ L’elisir d’amore Opera North, The Yeomenof the Guard and Pirates, National G&S Opera Company
and a reduced Pirates for Opera Holland Park’s Inspire Programme. In 2017, productions included The Barber of Seville for Iford Arts, his main stage directorial debut for
Opera North, and a ‘Whistle-stop’ production for Opera North which was broadcast on BBC’s Opera Passion day. Other recent productions include Tosca, Musique Cordiale Festival, Susanna's Secret King’s Head, Julio Caesare TCM/Blackheath Halls. Aside from his writing for his company Charles Court Opera, he writes and directs Young Audience Projects for the Concordia Foundation, of which he is the newly appointed Education Manager.