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'Hansel and Gretel’ an Opera Showcase

Performance concludes with public service announcement about abusive relationships.

Tanner Kent, Mankato Free Press, 1-24-2013

MANKATO — Behind the scenes, there’s much to cel­ebrate about Sunday’s per­formance of the opera “ Hansel and Gretel” at Minnesota State University. The student- led perform­ance marks the kickoff of a statewide tour of high schools. It also repre­sents the fruit of a continued partnership with the Mankato Symphony Orchestra, which hosted the same five MSU singers for a performance of the opera durings its Candy Cane concert in December.

More than anything, however, the performance will showcase a group of singers that Kimm Julian praised as being tailor­made for the roles.

The cast includes: Brianna Lundin as Hansel, Kristen Lucas as Gretel, Melissa Williams as the witch, Brittany Helgren as mother, and Andrew Kurkowski as father.

“I had the right people,” said Julian, music instruc­tor and director of opera at MSU. “They just jumped out at me as the right cast.”

But the opera itself isn’t without a darker side. The old fairy tale is has been told, re- told, revised and re- revised countless times since its first publication by in 1812 by the Brothers Grimm.

In MSU’s version, the children are sent into the forest by their abusive step­mother. The ensuing scenes involving the evil witch are portrayed in a dream- like sequence.

Julian said the perform­ance concludes with a pub­lic service announcement about abusive relationships and where to find advice and resources.

“It’s a little edgy,” Julian said. “It’s not a children’s show.”

The entire version of this story can be read in a print copy of the Mankato Free Press. Call the Mankato Free Press at 625-4451 or (800) 657-4662 to find out how to purchase a print copy. The Free Press also prints select stories online at

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