'Amahl and the Night Visitors' returns to WestConn for holidays
WCSU Opera Ensemble to stage performances on Dec. 14 and 15

DANBURY, CONN. — The Western Connecticut State University Opera Ensemble will continue a holiday tradition as it presents the Gian Carlo Menotti holiday classic “Amahl and the Night Visitors” in two performances on Friday, Dec. 14, and Saturday, Dec. 15.

The 13th annual staging at WestConn of the English-language one-act opera, originally commissioned for presentation by the NBC television network in December 1951, will be at 8 p.m. on Dec. 14 and 3 p.m. on Dec. 15 in the Ives Concert Hall in White Hall on the university’s Midtown campus, 181 White St. in Danbury. Admission will be $12 for adults, and $8 for senior citizens, non-WestConn students and children under 12. WestConn students will be admitted free with a valid ID.

Professor of Music Dr. Margaret Astrup is the director and orchestra conductor for the performances, which will feature WestConn music students and community performers in the principal roles. Astrup will be supported by Meagan Johnson, choreographer and opera assistant; Daria Grisel, opera assistant; and Regina Sergiej, costumes and lighting.

Cast in the title role are 10-year-old Nicholas Marmor, of Hamden, who will perform on Dec. 14; and 13-year-old Frank Ruggerone, of Clinton Corners, N.Y., who will appear Dec. 15. The role of Amahl’s mother will be played on Dec. 14 by Victoria Chiera, of Danbury; and on Dec. 15 by Giulia Sanford, of Greenwich.

Playing the role of Kaspar will be Sam Manandhar, of Stratford, on Dec. 14 and Tyler Cohen, of Naugatuck, on Dec. 15. Melchior will be performed by Hernan Berisso, of Riverside, on Dec. 14 and Dan Ahrens, of Wolcott, on Dec. 15. Charles Reid, music minister of Faith Church in New Milford, will play Balthazar, and Eric Dreher, of Morris, will portray the Page in both performances.

In notes describing his composition of the opera, Menotti observed 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.

During a visit to the Metropolitan Museum in New York, he recalled, “I chanced to stop in front of ‘The Adoration of the Kings’ by Hieronymus Bosch, and as I was looking at it, suddenly I heard again, coming from the distant blue hills, the song of the Three Kings. I then realized that they had come back to me, and had brought me a gift.”
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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