Babes In Toyland
Feb 14, 2008
Eduardo Sicangco

Babes In Toyland, Houston Grand Opera
*Review excerpts:

“From the melodious sound of the score to Babes in Toyland and the delightfully spectacular visual production with which Houston Grand Opera has revived Victor Herbert’s beloved old operetta, it looks as though the company has a nice, though lengthy, yuletide hit.
Fridays’ opening performance in Wortham Center’s Cullen Theater revealed an elaborate, gorgeous series of settings created by designer Eduardo Sicangco.
During the opera’s two long acts, Sicangco leads his audience from a quaintly wrinkled, well-worn, shoe house for the Widow Piper and her 10 children through a very spooky forest swamp, full of gnarled, creaking tree trunks, hungry green spiders and a quaint, motherly old singing moth who flies in and out of the wings.
The second act opens on a toy-filled factory full of animated dolls, model trains and shiny, lacquered wooden oldiers doing a spectacular close-order drill.”

*by Carl Cunningham, The Houston Post
Monday, December 2, 1991

“Without being agressively Christmassy, there are enough references to the specifics of the season to make this the perfect family outing. Spectacular production numbers,entrancing scenery and costumes, imaginative dance sequences and Victor Herbert’s easy listening score - what more could anyone want for December festivities?”
“The production is lusciously Victorian, all curlicues and frills and folderols. Mother Gooseland is straight from the pages of whatever nursery rhyme book you care to open. The forest is magical, tangled and cobwebby. Toyland, preparing for Christmas, is clockworky with overtones of a mad scientiest’s lair, littered with playthings and prancing wooden solders. The chirpy ‘March of the Toy Solders’ accompanies their parade; the audience sways to the dreamy ‘Toyland Toyland
‘ waltz; golden oldies but goodies cast their spell and all’s well with the world - be it ever so briefly.”

*by Ann Thompson, The Opera, December 1991

“Much entertainment also comes from Eduardo Sicangco’s wonderful sets: Widow Piper’s shoe-house with the worn-out toe, the gobliny trees that moved and sang a la barbershop in the forest, and the candy-coated sets for Toyland.”

*by Charles Ward, Houseton Chronicle, Nov. 12, 1991

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