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Portland Opera brings familiar fairy tale to Hillsboro

Program aimed at making opera understandable to all ages.

COURTESY PHOTO - This is the fifth year Portland Opera to Go will bring a show to the Walters Cultural Arts Center in Hillsboro.Two lost children, desperate parents, a child-gobbling witch, one whimsical set, adorable costumes and some of the best young voices the Northwest has to offer will all take center stage at the Walters Cultural Arts Center, 527 East Main St., Hillsboro, on Saturday, Dec. 3.

Portland Opera to Go, the touring division of Portland Opera’s Education and Outreach Program, is set to return to Washington County with a classic opera retelling of “Hansel & Gretel,” which aims to be an engaging, fun, educational and affordable afternoon for the entire family.

Every year, Portland Opera To Go serves around 20,000 students throughout Oregon and southwest Washington with its lively 50-minute English-language presentations of classic operas. The bright, magical adaptation of Engelbert Humperdinck’s sweet-natured, toothsome fairy tale will be performed at over 50 schools throughout the Northwest, as well as at six public spaces, including the Walters.

Following the familiar fairy tale, Hansel (Rebecca Sacks) and Gretel (Ivy Zhou) find themselves lost in the woods after being banished from home for being naughty. After an afternoon of berry picking, they grow hungry and tired, and fall asleep, only to wake to the greatest adventure of their lives. After gorging on a smorgasbord of sugary treats, courtesy of the resident Gobbling Witch (Tevyn Hill), they find that they are next on the menu.

Specially designed to introduce young audiences to opera, each school performance is accompanied by an extensive arts integrated curriculum aligned with the Common Core Standards.

The program is for all ages and admission is by a suggested $5 donation. The performance is a condensed version of the longer classic opera, and the performers will participate in a meet and greet after the show.

At many of the tour stops, the program’s teaching artists spend time in classrooms engaging students in the art form of opera. The opera’s visits to different communities can open students’ eyes to a world they may never have experienced, inspire the next audience member and patron, or the next great soprano, director or conductor.

This is the fifth year the Portland Opera and the Walters have worked together to present affordable and educational opera programming for the community.

The show has reached capacity in previous years.