Humperdinck: Hansel and Gretel, Bergen National Opera, 2017 (detail) View full image

James Bonas debut in Norway with Hansel & Gretel for Bergen National Opera

Magical and mysterious, scary and grotesque, cheerful and bouncy. Laurdag Kultur, 28/10/17

James Bonas, together with designer Tom Paris and music director Stephen Higgins has created a highly visual, inventive and entertaining outreach touring production of Humperdink’s much-loved Hansel & Gretel for the Bergen Opera.   There are performances in eight different venues throughout Norway and each performance involves school children from different schools.  The schools were invited to participate in and comment on the rehearsal process and had plenty to contribute, eg “ why does she (the witch) do that?” and  “We want more scary bits!”    

There is also highly inventive use of video (Siren Halvorsen and Fredrik Rysjedal)  – as the audience watches, birds flock across walls, trees grow spindling branches, and beetles creep over sleeping bodies in the forest. Lit by flickering, trembling skeletons, the boxes (which form the set) transform into an eerie nightscape.

Described as An excellent Witch’s Brew by Hordaland news review,  this colourful production was met with great enthusiasm by children and adults alike.

Humperdinck: Hansel und Gretel, Bergen National Opera, 2017