Aklaq & Nayak (An Alaska Native Adaptation of Hansel & Gretel )

About the Production

This special production of Aklaq & Nayak – an Alaska Native Adaptation of Hansel & Gretel , is proudly presented in conjunction with the University of Alaska Anchorage’s Opera Ensemble. With original music by Engelbert Humperdinck and an all new English/Iñupiaq libretto by Mari Hahn (UAA Music Department) and Willa Towarak Eckenweiler (Iñupiaq) this new production infuses the traditions of opera with indigenous Alaskan culture and storytelling. Perfect for children of all ages and everyone young at heart! Through our AO2Go Education Program, Anchorage Opera can bring the magic of opera directly to your school, organization or community center. To find out more and to book a production please contact Judy Berry at (907) 279-2557 or email jberry@anchorageopera.org

A & N collage 1200 x 800(Photos by Denny Wells)

Anchorage Opera began touring Aklaq & Nayak – an Alaska Native Adaptation of Hansel & Gretel to schools and community organizations in February of 2016, traveling to Nome and Unalakleet to perform for children in remote villages who otherwise would have little exposure to arts education.

A & N collage 3 1200 x 800(Photos by Denny Wells)

We are currently seeking funding in order to bring this production to our community, the children of Alaska and their families at an affordable price, or in some cases free of charge. If you would like to help by becoming a supporter or sponsor of AO2Go please call (907) 279-2557 or CLICK HERE (and select the donation designation: AO2Go Education Program. Thank you!


The story features the adventures of brother and sister Aklaq and Nayak as they venture out into the tundra to look for food. Raven and Snowy Owl follow, sometimes acting as guides and protectors. But when the children come to the house of the Goblin Woman, they must use their own courage and resourcefulness to escape her evil clutches! The story emphasizes the importance of respect for the land, bravery, and love to overcome hardships and adversity.
A & N collage 2 1200 x 800
(Photos by Denny Wells)

Anchorage Opera and the UAA Opera Ensemble present an Inupiaq adaptation of Hansel and Gretel, with music by Englebert Humperdinck and original libretto by Mari Hahn and Willa Towarak Eckenweiler.

Many thanks to BP, Wells Fargo and Alaska Arts & Health PTSA for their support of this production


Production Team

Sarah Cvancara 150x150
(Bear, brother to Nayak): Sarah Cvancara

Ziva Berkowitz headshot
(Bear, brother to Nayak): Ziva Berkowitz

(Sister): Kira Neta Apaachuaq Eckenweiler

Mari Hahn 150x150
Stage Director
– Mari Hahn
Set Designer – Carrie Yanagawa
Costume Designer – Elena Nalchevska-Kaufman
Accompanist – Janet Stiles
Sets and Costumes constructed by Anchorage Opera
Shelley Virginia 150x150
Movement Choreographer
 – Shelley Virginia
Phil Cheasebro 150x150
(Father): Phil Cheasebro

Don Endres 150x150
(Father): Don Endres
Linda Porter 150x150
(Mother): Linda Porter

Lailani Cook 150x150
(Mother): Lailani Cook

Victoria Graham 150x150
Snowy Owl
: Victoria Graham
Allison Polowy 150x150
: Allison Polowy

Nora Clark 150x150
: Nora Clark

Ed Washington 150x150
Goblin Woman
: Edward Washington II
 Kelly Wilson 150x150
Goblin Woman
: Kelly Wilson