Wanted a familyfriendly opera that wont terrify children unduly

The director of the Royal Opera House’s Hansel and Gretel has admitted it may frighten children “a little”, as the company seeks a family-friendly opera to emulate the success of the Nutcracker.The ROH is on the look out for a “revivable Christmas opera piece” for families, to fill an annual gap in the opera repertoire for the festive season.The Royal Ballet, also based the Covent Garden venue, stages the Nutcracker each year, making the most of lucrative tickets sales as families return again and again to see the classic.–– ADVERTISEMENT ––This year, the ROH will stage Hansel and Gretel, directed by Antony McDonald, designed specifically with children in mind as it attempts to tell the fairytale “without terrifying them unduly”.“It will be quite traditional – with, I hope, a few personal quirks,” McDonald told the Sunday Times Culture magazine. “Olly [Oliver Mears, ROH artistic director] wanted something geared to family audiences. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. “He was hoping for something that could be a revivable Christmas opera piece because the Royal Opera doesn’t have anything like that in the repertoire.”He added: “It’s set in the early 20th century, and obviously in Germany. I hope people bring children to it. I very much want to engage children, who are the sharpest critics. Royal Opera House's Director of Opera, Oliver Mears Royal Opera House’s Director of Opera, Oliver MearsCredit:Royal Opera House “Because it is sung in German, it needs to be visually stimulating to keep them on board. That was a rule I made for myself early on.”The Witch and the parents obviously aren’t admirable, but neither are they quite as ghastly as they appear in the Grimms’ original tale.“Children like to be frightened a little, and I hope I will have achieved that without terrifying them unduly.”

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