Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel

The beloved tale of two children whose goodness and faith triumph over an evil witch returns to the Tennessee Theatre for the first time in 32 years.

Friday, February 26, 2016 at 7:30pm

Sunday, February 28, 2016 at 2:30pm

Performed at The Magnificent Tennessee Theatre

Opera preview hosted by Maestro Salesky begins 45 minutes prior to each performance.

800x800-H&G (1)

The lavish production includes a 19-foot tall candied house, trees with blinking eyes, cuckoo birds, 14 angels, and a dancing witch.

All children are invited to take photos with the cast on the set after the final curtain. Candy provided! A sumptuous treat awaits young and old alike as the timeless fable is presented with magnificent music filled with folk tunes and romantic lyricism.

Meet the Director


Candace Evans (Stage Director)

Candace Evans has enjoyed a distinguished career as a director and choreographer of over 80 operas, musicals and plays. Among the companies which have presented her productions are the Teatro Colón (Buenos Aires), Santa Fe Opera, Dallas Opera, Palm Beach Opera, Florentine Opera, Madison Opera, North Carolina Opera and Opera San Antonio. Honored by the National Music Critic’s Association of Argentina, Ms. Evans’ work was selected among the top three operas of 2012. Similarly, her productions of Carmen and Eugene Onegin for Madison Opera were named Top Ten Classical Events. Frequently asked to develop new productions, Ms. Evans’ Akhnaten was selected by the composer, Philip Glass, to be a definitive DVD. With a conservatory Master of Fine Arts degree in classical theatre/direction, Ms. Evans also trained as an opera singer, ballet dancer and toured the world as a stage performer. Relocating from New York City, she taught for the theatre/music departments of Southern Methodist University for 4 years and now privately coaches singers and leads masterclasses. Ms. Evans has served as the acting/movement coach for Dallas Opera, Fort Worth Opera Festival and Taos Opera Institute. Ms. Evans recent engagements include three new productions, Salome, featuring the role debut of Patricia Racette, Il Matrimonio Segreto, part of the ICastica summer arts festival in Arezzo, Italy and Le Wally, for the Dallas Opera.

Meet the Cast


Chrystal E. Williams (Hansel)

Sponsored thanks to the generosity of Dr. Sharon Lord.
Birthplace: Portsmouth, Virginia
Foreign Opera Company: Birmingham Opera (UK)
Foreign Orchestras and Festivals: Cairo Symphony Orchestra (Egypt), Norrköpings Symfoniorkester (Sweden)
U.S. Opera Companies: Washington National Opera, Sarasota Opera, Opera Philadelphia, Gotham Chamber Opera, Academy of Vocal Arts (PA), Yale School of Music Opera, Carnegie Mellon University Opera
U.S. Orchestra: University of Pennsylvania Symphony Orchestra
U.S. Festivals: Aspen Music Festival, Glimmerglass Festival, Pine Mountain Music Festival


Lindsay Russell (Gretel)

Sponsored thanks to the generosity of Betsey R. Bush.
Birthplace: Richmond, Virginia
Foreign Orchestra: Hong Kong Philharmonic
U.S. Opera Companies: Santa Fe Opera, Seattle Opera, Arizona Opera, Portland Opera, Syracuse Opera, Skylight Opera (MN), Opera Roanoke
U.S. Orchestras : Yakima Symphony Orchestra (WA), New England Symphonic Ensemble
U.S. Festivals: Glimmerglass Festival (NY), Northern Lights Music Festival (MN)


Katherine Lerner (Witch)

Sponsored thanks to the generosity of Jerry and Sue Becker.
Birthplace: New York, New York
U.S. Opera: Lyric Opera of Chicago, Ryan Opera Center, Bourbon Baroque, Curtis Opera Theatre
U.S. Orchestras : Cleveland Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Chicago Philharmonic, Elmhurst Symphony, Peoria Symphony, Macon Symphony Orchestra, Oberlin Baroque Players


Scott Bearden (Father)

Sponsored thanks to the generosity of Mark and Catherine Hill.
Birthplace: Flint, Michigan
Foreign Opera Company: International Vocal Arts Institute (Tel Aviv)
U.S. Opera Companies: San Francisco Opera, Opera Boston, Knoxville Opera, Opera New Jersey, Toledo Opera, Mississippi Opera, Opera Theater of Connecticut, Opera Memphis, Opera San Jose, Opera Grand Rapids, Eugene Opera, Cedar Rapids Opera, West Bay Opera, Mercury Opera, Rockland Opera (NY), California Festival Opera
U.S. Orchestras : Monterey Symphony, Oakland East Bay Symphony, Midland Symphony, Symphony Silicon Valley
U.S. Festivals: Tanglewood Music Festival, Caramoor Music Festival, Sanibel Music Festival, Mendocino Music Festival


Elizabeth Peterson (Mother)

Sponsored thanks to the generosity of Pat and Lester Petrie.
Birthplace: St. Petersburg, Florida
Foreign Festival: Edinburgh Arts Festival
U.S. Opera Companies: Cincinnati Opera, Dayton Opera, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Toledo Opera, Lyric Opera Cleveland, Whitewater/Sorg Opera, Ohio Light Opera
U.S. Orchestras : Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, Tampa Bay Master Chorale and Orchestra, Florida Orchestra, Middletown Symphony Orchestra
U.S. Festivals: Spoleto Festival, Lake Eden Arts Festival


Mia Pafumi (Dew Fairy)

Sponsored thanks to the generosity of Alice Torbett
Birthplace: Westfield, New Jersey
Foreign Orchestra: Rome Festival Orchestra
U.S. Opera: Sarasota Opera, Opera at Florham
U.S. Orchestras : New Jersey Sym. Orch., New Jersey Fest. Orch.


Margaret Ramsey (Sandman)

Sponsored thanks to the generosity of Verna Stevenson.
Birthplace: Winston-Salem, North Carolina
U.S. Opera: Marble City Opera, Janiec Opera (Brevard Music Festival), Univ. of Tenn. Opera Theatre, Greensboro Opera, University of North Carolina at Greensboro Opera Theatre
U.S. Orchestras : Univ. of Tenn. Symphony Orchestra

Plot Synopsis

Act I; Scene 1: A cottage near Mount Ilsenstein, Harz, Germany.

Bored with their chores, Gretel entreats Hansel to dance with her. Their antics are interrupted by their mother’s arrival and she is furious to find them wasting time. As she threatens punishment, she knocks over a pitcher of milk and sends them out to find food. Alone, she expresses her sorrow that she is unable to feed her children. Her husband arrives with a surprise feast, explaining that he had his very best day of selling broomsticks. His happiness turns to horror when he realizes that his children have been sent to Ilsenstein Forest which is inhabited by a cannibalistic witch. The couple rush off to search for their children.

Act I; Scene 2: The Ilsenstein Forest, that evening.

Gretel weaves a garland of flowers while Hansel picks berries. They hear a cuckoo calling as they begin to eat the berries, eventually devouring them all. Hansel realizes he has forgotten the way back home. As night descends, Gretel becomes frightened; Hansel tries to comfort her, but they are both startled as an unusual man walks into the clearing. It is the Sandman who has come to put them to sleep. After saying their evening prayer they fall asleep and fourteen angels appear to protect them.

Act II: The Ilsenstein Forest, the next morning.

The Dew Fairy wakes the children. A candied gingerbread house with a fence of gingerbread children magically appears. Hansel and Gretel joyfully nibble on bits of the house. An old Witch comes out of the house, provoking the children to attempt an escape, but she paralyzes them with her magic wand. Hansel is caged and Gretel is forced to dance wildly. After Gretel enters the house, Hansel pretends to be asleep while the Witch describes how she plans to cook and eat Gretel. The Witch, disappointed that Hansel seems so thin, calls for Gretel to bring out fattening treats. While the Witch force-feeds Hansel, Gretel steals the wand. Waving it towards Hansel, Gretel whispers a spell which breaks his bondage. The Witch tells Gretel to peek inside the oven to see if the gingerbread is done. Gretel, pretending she doesn’t understand, asks the Witch to demonstrate. The Witch opens the oven and leans in. Hansel and Gretel shove her into the flames. After a celebratory dance, the gingerbread children miraculously turn back into humans. Hansel and Gretel’s parents finally find them and all give thanks for their deliverance from evil.