Welcome back to my look back at 20th and 21st century operas I have produced, directed, or performed in in the last few years. Today I'm going to talk about another #Menotti favorite of mine, that wasn't always a favorite. Amahl and the Night Visitors composed in 1951. Lots of people know this opera, because many opera companies produce it during the holidays. As I mentioned, I wasn't a huge fan of this opera and really didn't want to produce it, there are other chamber operas appropriate for Christmas, but we'll get to those later. Before producing it for the first time in 2015 with Marble City Opera, I had asked James Marvel to direct the opera, and I told him I wanted the opera to be really funny! Fortunately, he did not let me down, and in the process I became a huge fan of the opera.
I have produced this opera twice with Marble City Opera. The first time I sang the role of Mother with two adorable and perfect boys singing the role of Amahl to sold out audiences who attended for FREE because of the generosity of St. John's Cathedral! The rest of the cast was also outstanding. The three Kings played by Vincent Davis, Daniel Webb, and Dominick White sounded glorious as they entered the cathedral. The page was played by a talented comedian that I mentioned before, Peter Johnson.
The second production was sung and performed beautifully by the talented singers Lindsey Fuson, as Mother & Kathryn Shepas, as Amahl! Kate saved the day when our child actor dropped out on the day of our first staging rehearsal--she stepped into the role and sang and acted it beautifully. She is one of my heroes. This was another all-star cast featuring Breyon Ewing, Brandon Gibson, and Daniel Webb as the three kings, and another fabulous young comedian, Brad Summers as the page.
Both productions were directed by James Marvel and conducted by Ace Edewards with the original orchestration.
Amahl production review by Arts Knoxville - 2015
Amahl production review by Arts Knoxville - 2017
Top Left - Kathryn Frady as the Mother 2015.
Top Right - Vincent Davis, Daniel Webb, Peter Johnson, Dominick White, and Joseph Coram - 2015
Bottom Right - Lindsey Fuson & Kathryn Shepas -2017
Next Up - The Stronger by Hugo Weisgall