Sun Sep 19, 00:00 - Mon Oct 18, 23:59


In Hänsel und Gretel, Engelbert Humperdinck masterfully combined simple folk-like melodies with Wagnerian techniques to create the world’s favourite fairy tale opera. The darker psychological recesses of the original Brothers Grimm tale are brought to the fore in CTO’s 2021 production, designed by renowned artist-photographer Roger Ballen, and directed by Alessandro Talevi. 


Together with Marguerite Rossouw (his creative collaborator for the last 14 years) and lighting designer Kobus Rossouw, Ballen brings his trademark aesthetic to a theatre stage for the first time in this production. Dubbed ‘Ballenesque’ by art critics, Ballen’s visual language is rooted in symbolic representations of decay, poverty, chaos, internal animal impulses, mental anguish and entrapment. It is a visual universe which blurs fact and fantasy, dream and reality, fiction and documentary – and an aesthetic which is now recognised by millions across the globe through Ballen’s collaborations

with Die Antwoord. “What’s important for us is that – whether we are working with Die Antwoord or working with this opera – we want our fingerprint, our aesthetic, to integrate with the narrative and expand it,” says Ballen. “We want to create a new aesthetic out of an old aesthetic.”


South African-born director Talevi lead a world-class team in a production which embraces the darker resonances of the fairy tale. Maestro Kazem Abdullah

conducts the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra (following his acclaimed debut for the company with Maria Stuarda in 2018). The production stars Ané Pretorius as Hansël, Brittany

Smith as Gretel, Janelle Visagie as the Mother, Martin Mkhize as the Father, and Bongiwe Nakani as the Witch (returning to South Africa fresh from her successes at the Wiener Staatsoper).


Presented by Cape Town Opera

Additional information

Age restriction No under 16s
Refund policy Refunds allowed (view policy)


How can we help?