CHICAGO (5/17/21) — As a part of Lyric Opera of Chicago’s ongoing reimagined season, the company is pleased to announce a set of all-new free, live performances, presented in partnership with the Chicago Park District and the Greater Chicago Food Depository — Hansel & Gretel in the Park. This early-summer series of outdoor performances at North Park Village Nature Center brings a fresh, hour-long staging of Engelbert Humperdinck’s opera and the beloved fairytale story to life through the eyes of the title characters.
The original production is conceived and directed by Matthew Ozawa, with new scenic and costume designs created by Lyric's wardrobe, wig and makeup director, Scott Marr. The music is arranged by Simon Bruckard with English translation by Sir David Pountney. This familiar story, set to beautiful music and performed outdoors, is the perfect introduction to opera for families with kids of all ages. Rather than using a fixed stage, this production has each scene taking place in a different location within the park.
Hansel & Gretel in the Park will feature members of the Lyric Opera Orchestra and Lyric Opera Chorus, with performances at 4:00 pm, 5:15 pm, and 6:30 pm CT on May 27 and 28, June 3, 4, 5, 17, and 18 at North Park Village Nature Center (5801 N. Pulaski Rd., Chicago)
The three performances per date of Hansel & Gretel in the Park will each have a capacity of twenty-five (25) attendees, adhering to current city and state health and safety restrictions and guidelines. During the performances, audience members will be masked and will move with the performers through the park with the performers. Tickets are free, and must be reserved in advance. Children of all ages must have a ticket due to public health and capacity considerations. Ticket reservations are available at lyricopera.org/hanselandgretel or by calling 312.827.5600.
Lyric will offer two simple ways for audiences to donate to the Food Depository during the production, on-site and on-line, to offer support in ending hunger and its root causes. Audience members may either bring a non-perishable food item to donate on-site at the park, or donate to Lyric Opera of Chicago through QR codes at the park, a portion of which will be shared with the Food Depository.
During the pandemic, millions of Americans have experienced food insecurity, many of them for the first time. Child hunger has soared, particularly among Black and Latino households with children. Donations to the Food Depository help to feed families facing hunger in Chicago and throughout Cook County. "Hansel and Gretel is a timeless story about the impact that hunger can have on kids as they grow up," says Matthew Ozawa, who also serves as interim VP of Lyric Unlimited. "Partnering with the Food Depository offers an opportunity to shine a spotlight on this important issue in our own community." To learn more about what can be donated at each Hansel & Gretel in the Park site, visit myfooddrive.org/faq.php.
"We are thrilled to collaborate for the first time with the Chicago Park District, and gratified to collaborate again with the Food Depository, with whom we partnered previously at the Lyric Opera House during performances of Hansel and Gretel," says Anthony Freud, Lyric’s general director, president & CEO. "We are also delighted to showcase several members of the Lyric Opera Orchestra and Chorus in these live, in-person performances taking place in this beautiful outdoor setting."
“We are excited to welcome back Chicago residents and visitors to our neighborhood parks with live, creative performances by talented cultural organizations like the Lyric Opera of Chicago,” says Cathy Breitenbach, Director of Cultural and Natural Resources for the Chicago Park District. “Lyric’s presentation of Hansel and Gretel in the Park will make rediscovering the outdoors and reconnecting with the arts and cultural landscape of Chicago an exciting and enriching experience for everyone.”
To reserve your ticket for Hansel & Gretel in the Park, visit lyricopera.org/hanselandgretel or call 312.827.5600.