George Jackson makes his Grange Park Opera debut with 'Hänsel und Gretel' to critical acclaim
George Jackson conducted the ENO orchestra in his debut at Grange Park Opera on 23 June with Hänsel und Gretel, in a production directed by Stephen Medcalf, designed by Yannis Thavoris with lights by Jason Taylor, with Caitlin Hulcup as Hänsel, Soraya Mafi as Gretel and Susan Bullock in the double role of Mother and Witch.
The production runs until 10 July of which the press have said of George:
George Jackson conducted the full ENO orchestra in a magnificent account of the score, sparkling with playful humour in the dialogues and exultantly romantic in the interludes.
The acoustics of this endearingly quirky opera house are excellent and the ENO orchestra sounded radiant under the accomplished direction of George Jackson. Textural detail emerged clearly and the dramatic momentum was unfaltering.
Humperdinck's debt to Wagner is inescapable in this score, and George Jackson and the ENO Orchestra draw it out in a way that adds to the music's stature without sounding merely derivative.
The musical delights started with the first notes of the overture as the horn melody rose out of the pit, rich in texture and beautifully shaped. George Jackson and the orchestra brought out the well-made counterpoint which underlies Humperdinck's score. Yes, the glorious melodies were there, finely phrased and, well, glorious. But weaving them together was a sense of this beautifully made German counterpoint, which showed the work's complex history [...]. And George Jackson, a young conductor to watch, was clearly alive to the various resonances in Humperdinck's score. Yes it is Wagnerian, but I also heard pre-echoes of Mahler in the Act Two folk-sequences. Throughout the amount of detail was wondrous, yet woven into an enchanting construction which mixed humour with the magical [...]. Whatever other musical delights the production offered, and there were plenty, I kept coming back to Jackson and the orchestra.
George Jackson’s conducting is so idiomatic, drawing first-class playing from the orchestra of English National Opera.