Hansel and Gretel Q&A
with Janani Sridhar and Anne Wright
We recently sat down with FWO-TCU Lesley Artists Janani Sridhar and Anne Wright to discuss their roles in Fort Worth Opera's upcoming family opera.
In the original Brothers Grimm tale, the Mother wanted to take the children out into the woods and abandon them for good. In the 1840 edition, the character became a callous stepmother instead. Humperdinck’s Gertrude, is decidedly softer even though she is unhappy living in poverty.
What about this mother role interests you as a performer?
Janani Sridhar: I think the polarity between Gertrude wanting to be nothing but a beacon of love, support, and comfort to her children, and being a strict mother who wants to teach her children the value of money, and not being wasteful with their resources, makes her an interesting character to play. The poverty and hunger that her family faces is a stressful situation, and the idea that she may not be able to put food on the table is a constant weight on her shoulders.
Her evolution from the beginning of the opera to the end makes her not only more complex as a character, but also more relatable as a person. Playing these extremes of her nature is really fun, and it is both challenging and beautiful to see both sides of the coin when it comes to motherhood.
Anne Wright: I really feel for the mother because she’s got a heck of a life trying to care for what amounts to three children (Hansel, Gretel, and the Father). Things are hard, but she loves them a lot, and you realize by the end of the opera that her family means everything to her.
Published November 8, 2018 by Ryan Lathan