Spotlight on Emily Christina Loftus – Young Artist Gretel

Meet the emerging artists who will be presenting our 2023 Young Artists production of Hansel and Gretel this year. Emily will play Gretel in this production.


Can you introduce us to the role of Gretel?
Gretel is curious, full of imagination and really rather smart. She also has a strong moral compass – though this gets challenged in the opera. I think of her as around 11 or 12 years old and very bossy to her brother, Hansel.

What do you do to prepare for a new role before the rehearsal process begins?
For me, I think the biggest challenge learning Gretel is the size of the role. Hansel and Gretel are only offstage for one scene in the entire opera – so physical and vocal stamina is a must. Therefore a lot of preparation on pacing the role will be involved. Plus lots of star jumps whilst singing…

On basic preparation involving the score, my priority will be the text. There’s gallons of German to learn so I’ll be starting the memorisation process early. I love to write all my texts out in a journal (like my own handwritten version of Adelheid Wette’s libretto) and then go from there.

Bonus fun fact: Adelheid was Engelbert’s sister, and proposed the idea for the opera!

What are you most excited to learn or experience during your time as an OHP Young Artist?
Gretel is a dream role of mine, so to sing her on the OHP stage is a dream come true in itself! Plus who doesn’t want their role debut to involve running around and eating lots of sweets on stage? Actually I don’t know if our set will include real sweets, so this is my plug for it!

Who is your musical role model and why?
This is always a hard one but classical sopranos for the role of Gretel include: Lucia Popp, Christine Schäfer, and my own singing teacher Rosa Mannion. Non-classical artists have to be Ella Fitzgerald, Redcar and Self Esteem – all empowered people committed to true creative expression.

What’s one piece of advice you’ve been given as an artist that has stayed with you?
You cannot hide yourself, so you might as well be unapologetically unique. We all are and that’s what makes art so beautiful and powerful.