Due Donne Productions to Present ‘Hansel & Gretel’ On Nintendo’s ‘Animal Crossing: New Horizons’

By David Salazar

Video games saw a major increase in interactivity and overall cultural importance throughout the COVID-19 lockdown. One of the games to see a boost in its popularity was “Animal Crossing: New Horizons,” which captured the imaginations of gamers around the world as they created their own utopias amidst a challenging and unstable world.

Now “Animal Crossing’s” popularity is crossing over into the opera world where Due Donne productions, a company founded by two New England Conservatory graduates, will present a new opera using the game.

Celeste Pellegrino and Larisa Bainton will present a 30-minute version of “Hansel and Gretel” featuring pre-recorded material by vocalists and pianists at home. The directors built the staging in “Animal Crossing,” exported that video, and put the music layer on top of the staging.

The opera is set to premiere on July 24, 2020.

“’Animal Crossing: New Horizons’ is a natural fit for the creation of an animated opera,” Pellegrino and Bainton stated in a press release. “Thanks to the ease of use of the platform, and the fact that the game already has many props, outfits, and custom design features we can use to create our set, it was the perfect entry into creating a new type of virtual opera performance. We’re thankful to our artists and collaborators for their dedication to thinking outside the box and bringing ‘Hansel and Gretel’ into the Animal Crossing world.”

Other artists involved in the project include Hannah Shanefield, Juan Suarez, Caroline Nielson, and Miles Fellenberg.