Skip to main content

‘Hänsel und Gretel’ among winter opera and vocal offerings at Bienen School

Grammy-nominated mezzo-soprano to lead a vocal master class for students

Evanston, Ill.  – A classic fairy tale brought to life and a visit by an award-winning and Grammy-nominated mezzo-soprano highlight the winter voice and opera season at Northwestern University’s Henry and Leigh Bienen School of Music. 

Northwestern University Opera Theater's production of Engelbert Humperdinck’s “Hänsel und Gretel” will delight audiences of all ages for four performances at Cahn Auditorium beginning on Thursday, Feb. 22. In April, mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton will lead a master class as part of the Tichio-Finnie Vocal Master Class Series. 

Tickets are available online at, by phone at 847-467-4000 or by visiting the Bienen School Ticket Office at 50 Arts Circle Drive. 

Program details follow: 

Humperdinck’s “Hänsel und Gretel” 
Thursday-Saturday, Feb. 22-24, 7:30 p.m. 
Sunday, Feb. 25, 3 p.m.
Cahn Auditorium, 600 Emerson Street
Joachim Schamberger, director 
Patrick Furrer, conductor
Northwestern University Symphony Orchestra 

Premiered in 1893, Engelbert Humperdinck’s “Hänsel und Gretel” is based on the Brothers Grimm fairy tale. Sent into the forest in search of strawberries to feed their hungry family, Hänsel and Gretel discover a gingerbread house inhabited by a wicked witch with an appetite for children. The siblings must rely on their wits, each other and the benevolent beings watching over the forest in order to escape her clutches. With its charming folk music-inspired melodies and colorful storytelling, Humperdinck’s adaptation of the classic tale is sure to delight all ages. (Performed in German with English supertitles.) 

Tickets are $18 for the general public and $8 for full-time students with valid ID. 

Jamie Barton Vocal Master Class 
Part of the Tichio-Finnie Vocal Master Class Series 
Wednesday, April 3, 7 p.m. 
Galvin Recital Hall, 70 Arts Circle Drive 

The 2023-24 Tichio-Finnie Vocal Master Class Series continues with a vocal coaching by mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton. A recipient of the Beverly Sills Artist Award and Richard Tucker Award, Barton was named 2020 Personality of the Year at the BBC Music Magazine Awards. During the 2023-24 season, she appears in the world premiere of Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer’s “Intelligence” at Houston Grand Opera, brings her acclaimed interpretation of Amneris to Lyric Opera of Chicago’s “Aida” and performs Arnold Schönberg’s “Gurre-Lieder” in a gala concert for the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra’s 75th anniversary. Offstage, Barton is recognized for using her powerful voice to spark conversations about body positivity, social justice and LGBTQ+ rights, and she is a proud volunteer for Turn the Spotlight an organization working to identify, nurture and empower leaders among women and people of color. 

Tickets are $10 for the general public and $5 for full-time students with valid ID. 

Artist Bios: 

Director Joachim Schamberger’s productions have appeared in the U.S., Germany, Italy, France, the Czech Republic, Brazil, Norway, Israel, Japan and China. An avid opera educator, he is on the faculty at many young artist festivals and guest lectures at conservatories throughout the world. Prior to becoming director of opera and artist-in-residence at the Bienen School, he served as visiting professor of opera at DePauw University. Schamberger is a graduate of the Musikhochschule in Würzburg, the Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst Mannheim and the Merola Opera Program of the San Francisco Opera. He studied digital film production and 3-D animation at the New York Film Academy. 

Patrick Furrer began his professional conducting career at Switzerland’s Theater Basel and has conducted productions at the Volksoper Vienna, Lucerne, the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, the Salzburg Festival, San Francisco Opera and Lyric Opera of Chicago. Since 2011 he has been a member of the staff at the Metropolitan Opera, where he has conducted “The Magic Flute,” “Lohengrin” and “Don Carlos.” Furrer previously conducted Northwestern University Opera Theater productions of Hector Berlioz’s “Béatrice et Bénédict” and Giacomo Puccini’s “La bohème.” 

Mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton launched an international career with a 2007 win at the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, going on to land leading roles at many of the world’s major opera houses including the Metropolitan Opera, Teatro Real Madrid, Houston Grand Opera, San Francisco Opera, the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Washington National Opera and Deutsche Oper Berlin. She has appeared as Mère Marie in “Dialogues des Carmélites,” Orfeo in “Orfeo ed Euridice,” Adalgisa in “Norma,” Azucena in “Il trovatore,” Amneris in “Aida,” the title role in “Carmen” and Sister Helen Prejean in “Dead Man Walking.” She has appeared in concert with the New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra and Rotterdam Philharmonic, as well as the symphony orchestras of Atlanta, Baltimore, Dallas, Iceland, London, Prague and Toronto, among others. Her critically acclaimed album “Unexpected Shadows,” recorded with composer and pianist Jake Heggie, was nominated for a 2022 Grammy Award for Best Classical Solo Vocal Album. 

Multimedia Downloads

Download Assets

The 2023-24 Tichio-Finnie Vocal Master Class Series continues on April 3 at 7 p.m. with vocal coaching by mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton.
The 2023-24 Tichio-Finnie Vocal Master Class Series continues on April 3 at 7 p.m. with vocal coaching by mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton.