Hansel and Gretel Q&A
with Francesca Mehrotra and Jillian Grace Harrison
We recently sat down with Artists Francesca Mehrotra and Jillian Grace Harrison to discuss their roles in Fort Worth Opera's upcoming family opera.
What has been the most exciting and challenging aspect of learning the role of Gretel in Engelbert Humperdinck's fairy tale opera this November?
Francesca Mehrotra: The most exciting aspect of learning the role of Gretel has definitely been tapping into her youthful, childlike energy. All the roles I have sung prior to Gretel have been my own age or older, so it has been fun to step into in a child’s shoes. The rehearsal process has been very active! Playing a younger character has been equally challenging as it has been engaging - I have spent years playing characters who taught me to be poised, graceful, and elegant onstage.
Gretel is very different in that she is simple, unaffected, and free. Children see the world very differently from adults, so it has been an exciting challenge to remove the lens of age in order to simplify Gretel’s wants and actions. Gretel has been a dream role for awhile now, and I could not be happier to debut this role with Fort Worth Opera next month!
Jillian Grace Harrison: I love being able to portray Gretel because it brings back childhood memories of playing with my brothers. There is something so nostalgic about the character to me in the way that she interacts with Hansel, and being able to have fun and be an independent, strong, but also a dainty little girl is so much fun! I would often boss around my little brother and make him play dress up with me, in the same way, that Gretel teaches Hansel how to dance.
It is challenging to play a child because though they may be small, they often do not know it and think they are just as big as everyone else. It is a joy to work with this group of talent, and each person brings their own magic to the stage in both casts!
Published November 14, 2018 by Ryan Lathan