On July 24, 2020 at 7:30pm ET, Due Donne Productions, founded by NEC alumnae Celeste Pellegrino and Larisa Bainton, will premiere a 30-minute version of the classic Engelbert Humperdinck opera “Hansel and Gretel” on the game platform.
Celeste Pellegrino ’20 MM and Larisa Bainton ’20 MM are the founders of Due Donne Productions, a Boston-based opera company with the twin goals of bringing opera to new audiences while providing post-graduate career opportunities for early career singers.
Forced by the pandemic to cancel their in-person performances, Pellegrino and Bainton turned to a creative and unexpected medium: Nintendo’s Animal Crossing: New Horizons.
On July 24, 2020 at 7:30pm ET, Due Donne will premiere a 30-minute version of the classic Engelbert Humperdinck opera “Hansel and Gretel” on the game platform. Pellegrino and Bainton saw the need to creatively engage musicians while staying at home due to COVID-19. All of the vocal and piano parts are recorded by the vocalists and pianist at home, and will be edited into the world of Animal Crossing.
“Animal Crossing: New Horizons is a natural fit for the creation of an animated opera,” say Pellegrino and Bainton. “Thanks to the ease of use of the platform, and the fact that the game already has many props, outfits, and custom design features we can use to create our set, it was the perfect entry into creating a new type of virtual opera performance. We’re thankful to our artists and collaborators for their dedication to thinking outside the box and bringing Hansel and Gretel into the Animal Crossing world.”
Hannah Shanefield, singing the roles of Sandman and Dew Fairy, says, “We’re particularly lucky to reunite for this project, as we all performed this opera together live in the winter. Now, we’re looking at our music making through a unique lens that, of course, has its difficulties, but offers us the opportunity to reconsider, and even redefine, what collaboration means. During difficult times like these, this creative approach is bringing us closer than we may have even felt in person.”