#GiveaKidtheArts on Giving Tuesday

#GiveaKidtheArts! To DONATE: CLICK HERE

Anchorage Opera (AO) is “taking our act on the road” to the schoolchildren of Alaska with our Touring Education Program, AO2Go, and we’re dedicating every dollar donated on Giving Tuesday to that cause. In a time when music and theatre arts education in our schools is suffering drastic funding cut-backs, AO is dedicated to bridging that gap. Our entire community benefits when our children have the arts in their lives. AO partnered with the University of Alaska Anchorage Music Department to create and present a special children’s opera, Aklaq & Nayak (A Native Alaska Adaptation of Hansel & Gretel) in December 2015, which toured to Nome and Unalakleet in 2016. In 2017 we’ve toured to five Anchorage School District schools, Ptargmigan Elementary School, Fairview Elementary School, South High School, Bear Valley Elementary School and Springhill Elementary School. We’re on a roll, but we need your help to #GiveaKidtheArts! Our abridged version of the classic opera by Engelbert Humperdinck, with an all new English libretto, infuses the traditions of opera with indigenous Alaskan culture and storytelling making it relevant to the community we serve. The story emphasizes the importance of respect for the land, bravery, and love to overcome hardships and adversity. Giving Tuesday donations will be used to bring Aklaq & Nayak into the schools of Alaska.  Sets, costumes, singers, stage directors, accompanists, transportation and administration of the touring program require funding and your Giving Tuesday generosity can do just that. Thank you & BRAVO!

DONATE to #GiveaKidtheArts

About Aklaq & Nayak

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 libretto by Mari Hahn & Willa Towarak Eckenweiler

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


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 the premiere of this production

Original Cast

Production Team

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

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

Kira Eckenweiler 150x150
(Sister): Kira 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