‘Amahl and the Night Visitors’ returns to WCSU for holiday season

The WCSU Opera Ensemble staged Gian Carlo Menotti’s “Amahl and the Night Visitors” in two on-campus performances during the holiday season. This year’s production marked the 17th annual WCSU Opera Ensemble presentation of the English-language opera that was originally broadcast live on the NBC television network on Dec. 24, 1951.

Directed by Professor of Music Dr. Margaret Astrup, “Amahl and the Night Visitors” has become a popular seasonal tradition providing an inspirational and universal message of giving and community unity to family audiences of many faiths for the past 16 years.

Inspired by Menotti’s fond memories of Christmas during his childhood in Italy, the opera tells the story of a poor and crippled shepherd boy and his miraculous encounter with the Three Kings on their pilgrimage to Bethlehem.

The cast of “Amahl” uses the entire concert hall as their stage, giving audience members the feeling that they are participants in the opera, too. Amahl and the kings sing and meander through the auditorium and the shepherds emerge from the audience. The 50-minute opera has captivated audiences, appealing to people of all ages and musical tastes, with its mix of tuneful melodies, dancing rhythms and delightful choruses.


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“Amahl” has been a holiday mainstay at Western for 17 seasons.