17th Nov - 15th Dec 2018

LA Opera: Humperdinck’s “Hansel and Gretel”

“Supporting the strong cast throughout this compact, well-paced performance, the L.A. Opera orchestra gave a lush, romantic performance under the baton of company music director James Conlon, the orchestra doing its part to sweep the audience out of reality and into a satisfyingly fantastic world.” – Los Angeles Times

“In the hands of James Conlon and the LAO Orchestra, the music was pure poetry:  Wagnerian sweep seasoned with the simplicity of folk song. The silvery evocation of forest life, the tenderness of the Evening Prayer and the rollicking Witch’s Ride materialized seamlessly from the pit.” – Seen and Heard International

“Conlon [coaxed] the LA Opera Orchestra onto glory throughout the evening. The horns and percussion especially commending themselves in this difficult piece. The score just gushed out of the orchestra pit all evening.” – Parterre

“With an orchestra of more than 60 instruments, Music Director James Conlon had all the players he needed to show the exquisite delights of Humperdinck’s monumental score. Their sound was magnificent. I think the maestro and his players had a great time playing this score, too.” – Broadway World

“The music is lovely—melodic and inventive. It is beautifully played by the Los Angeles Opera Orchestra led by Maestro James Conlon.” — Monday Night at the Opera on KXLU 88.9FM

“Conductor James Conlon stays delightfully true to the intent of Humperdinck’s beautiful music, beginning with the “evening prayer” foreshadowing in the overture, which later materializes again with themes pertaining to the naive and unbounded effervescence of childhood and the untouchable purity and goodness of family.” – LA Excites

“Amazing as it seems, Saturday’s performance marked the first time L.A. Opera’s music director, James Conlon, has ever conducted Hansel and Gretel, though he did recount having sung in the gingerbread children’s chorus when he was 10. Conlon is a Wagnerian conductor of the first order, and during his preconcert lecture he pointed out how closely Humperdinck’s score draws on Wagner’s operas. He jestingly referred to Hansel and Gretel as “Wagner’s shortest opera.” For his first journey into Humperdinck’s woods, Conlon stressed the Wagner connection with grand sweeping strings, regal horns, and glittering heavenly light. He also stressed the influence of Bach chorales, Lutheran hymns, and Humperdinck’s proclivity for jaunty folk dances and songs.” – San Francisco Classical Voice

“The LA Opera Orchestra starred on its own. It sounded huge and rich, ready to tackle Wagner’s Ring after intermission if necessary. Concertmaster Robert Cani nailed every one of his big solos, and the strings overall were sumptuous. James Conlon accommodated the opera’s sentimental charms while smoothly working the story’s occasional darker threads into the general flow. Throughout all the adventures on stage both as an actual opera and as a holiday entertainment, Conlon kept the proceedings sober, focused on getting drop dead gorgeous sounds from the orchestra, and instilling and inspiring the cast that he will always have their back.” – Bachtrack

“And conductor James Conlon swirls his baton like, well, a magic wand.” – People’s World

“Right from the start, the orchestra under James Conlon provided sympathetic and uplifting accompaniment. The gentle magic of the opening quartet of horns was as much the magic formula of “Once Upon a Time” as the jigsaw-like depiction of the cottage in the woods that greeted us on arrival. The beginning of the Witch’s Ride, almost before Father finished his words “Pray God that we find them before the witch” really catapulted us into Act Two. Everything was well-judged.” – Opera Wire

“Music Director James Conlon and the LA Opera Orchestra brought the score and its wonderful melodies to life with their typical verve.” – Culture Spot LA

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