Atlanta Opera Reimagines ‘Hansel & Gretel’ for the Virtual Space

By Francisco Salazar

The Atlanta Opera has created a new virtual “Hansel and Gretel” expressly for distance learning, replacing its originally planned studio tour.

Adapted by director Brenna Corner, this reimagining of Humperdink’s opera will be for the Zoom age. The adaptation, “Story Time with Hansel and Gretel” finds the siblings isolating at home, but apart from one another. Gretel has been stuck at Grandma’s since the pandemic began and the Gingerbread Witch is a non-tech-savvy senior who has trouble receiving their video call.

During the final weeks of the academic year, which ended for most of Georgia’s public schools in mid-May, “Story Time with Hansel and Gretel” was presented in virtual field trips to students, live via Zoom.

The work will debut on June 10 at 11 a.m. EDT at a Facebook Watch party hosted by Atlanta’s Fulton County Library System. A recorded version, complete with supplementary learning materials, is now available for families, libraries, and summer camps.

The work stars Jessica Wax and Amy Smithwick in the title roles, with August Bair as the father, Robert Banks as the technologically-challenged Witch, Choo Choo Hu on piano, and costumes by Joanna Schmink.

A recording of the work will be available on the company’s website.