‘Amahl and the Night Visitors’ visit WestConn for the holidays

DANBURY, CONN. — The Western Connecticut State University Opera Ensemble will bring back “Amahl and the Night Visitors” for another festive holiday visit in two stagings of the Gian-Carlo Menotti classic on Friday, Dec. 12, and Saturday, Dec. 13.

This year’s shows will mark the 14th annual WCSU Opera Ensemble presentation of the English-language opera, originally commissioned for broadcast on the NBC television network in December 1951. Performances of the one-act work, which runs just under one hour, will be at 8 p.m. on Dec. 12 and at 2 p.m. on Dec. 13 in Ives Concert Hall in White Hall on the university’s Midtown campus, 181 White St. in Danbury. Admission will be $10 for adults, and $5 for senior citizens, non-WestConn students and children under 12. WestConn students will be admitted free with a valid I.D.

Professor of Music Dr. Margaret Astrup is the director and producer for the performances, which also will feature live music played by a full orchestra. The WCSU Opera production will feature separate casts of WestConn student and community actors performing the principal roles in the Dec. 12 evening and Dec. 13 matinee shows.

“This show stars a young boy and features music reminiscent of Puccini, and it promises to be entertaining for all,” Astrup observed. “It is the quintessential holiday family opera with its message of generosity and giving.”

Cast in the title role of the child Amahl are Nicholas Marmor and Joseph Benitez, both of Hamden. The role of Amahl’s mother will be played by Caitlin Keeler, of Ridgefield, and Amand Forker, of Wethersfield.

Playing the Three Kings will be: Isaac Smith, of Jewett City, and Scott Towers, of Branford, as Kaspar; Hernan Berisso, of Greenwich, and Zachary Ross, of Branford, as Melchior; and Joshua Lara, of New Britain, and Alexander Patrie, of Griswold, as Balthazar. Matthew Popp, of Orange, and Oren Givoni, of Watertown, will play the role of the page.

In notes describing his composition of the opera, Menotti explained his story of an impoverished and crippled shepherd boy’s encounter with the Kings on their way to Bethlehem — and the heart-warming outcome of their chance meeting — was inspired by his fond memories of the Three Kings as the legendary source of Christmas gifts during his childhood in Italy.

For tickets and information, visit www.wcsu.edu/tickets or call (203) 837-8499. 


Western Connecticut State University offers outstanding faculty in a range of quality academic programs. Our diverse university community provides students an enriching and supportive environment that takes advantage of the unique cultural offerings of Western Connecticut and New York. Our vision: To be an affordable public university with the characteristics of New England’s best small private universities.

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