Photo by Matt Stensland
“Amahl and the Night Visitors” opera performers, clockwise from top left, Claire Cox, Cheryl Hardy-Moore, Lark Skov, Dan Ragan and Tanner Visnick will perform at 9 and 10:45 a.m. Sunday at the United Methodist Church, 736 Oak St.
Saturday, December 12, 2009
If you go
What: “Amahl and the Night Visitors,” a Christmas opera by Gian Carlo Menotti
When: 9 and 10:45 a.m. Sunday
Where: United Methodist Church, 736 Oak St.
Steamboat Springs United Methodist Church choir director Alice Lund remembers the one-act opera “Amahl and the Night Visitors” from its yearly airing on NBC through the 1950s and ’60s.
Commissioned for a live television performance from contemporary Italian-American composer Gian Carlo Menotti, “Amahl” tells the story of a crippled young shepherd and chronic liar who sees an enormous star in the sky on Christmas Eve and is visited by three kings.
United Methodist Church presents the opera as its annual children’s production at 9 and 10:45 a.m. Sunday during its regular services.
Lund said part of the motivation to take on the production was the challenge of it and that she hoped to “involve some of the talented young people we have in the church because both of these kids who are playing principal roles are quite talented, and our choir likes to do special things,” she said.
Two youth church members are cast in leading roles in the production: Claire Cox plays Amahl, and Tanner Visnick plays Kaspar, one of the kings.
The church’s nearly 20-person choir portrays the shepherds, and children will join in on several Christmas songs. Dan Ragan and J.T. Thorup play the other two kings, and youth member Lark Skov plays the page. Church organist Marie Carmichael will provide accompaniment.
“It’s all been challenging. Our choir has a lot of words to learn and memorize, and the principal singers have pretty difficult musical roles to learn,” Lund said. “And gathering such things as a parrot and a cage and some of the other props is a challenge.”
The church has presented a children’s Christmas Eve program a few weeks before the Christmas holiday for years. The idea to do “Amahl” came from a congregation member, and Lund, her choir and several creative directors ran with it, said Cheryl Hardy-Moore, who plays Amahl’s mother.
“I can honestly say I don’t think I’ve ever sung something so difficult in my career,” Hardy-Moore said. Sunday’s performances will be staged on an 18-foot-wide set constructed by members of the church, she said.
“It’s been a major undertaking but a lot of fun,” she said.