OBU Music will present “Amahl and the Night Visitors,” an opera in one act, Thursday, Nov. 18, at 7:30 p.m. in Raley Chapel’s Yarborough Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public. The performance will last approximately 50 minutes, with an opportunity to take photos after the show.
The one-act opera “Amahl and the Night Visitors” was written by Gian-Carlo Menotti and is directed by Dr. Louima Lilite, McGavern-Montgomery Professor of Music. Based on Italian folk tales of the nativity and epiphany, the production is a retelling of the story of the Magi from the point of view of a young disabled boy named Amahl, who lives in poverty with his widowed mother near Bethlehem.
“Amahl and the Night Visitors” was the first opera composed specifically to be broadcast on television in the United States. NBC Opera Theatre gave the first performance of this opera Dec. 24, 1951, in New York City at NBC Studio 8H. The opera was commissioned by NBC as part of its launch into opera programming.
Menotti intended the opera for children as it is based on his own reflections of Christmas and the nativity from his childhood in Italy. For him, the opera provided a nostalgic reflection on the past. The work includes themes of redemption, trust, healing and obedience that point to the freedom we can find in Christ and his kingdom.
The character Amahl will be played by Anna Smolen, senior theatre major with a media minor. The mother will be played by Laura Stewart, senior vocal major who previously earned a B.M.A in violin with a minor in business administration from OBU in May 2021. Kaspar will be played by Chase Davis, senior vocal performance major, while Melchior will be played by Brock Brown, junior musical arts major with a minor in education. Nathan Henager, senior vocal performance major, will play the role of Balthazar. The character Page will be played by Cason West, junior vocal music education major.
The chorus will include Jaylin Anders, Ryleigh Andrews, Amaya Brooks, Zoe Burdess, Luke Carter, Emily Day, Katelynn Fair, Rei Figueroa, Makayla Freeman, Valarie Monteith, Alexis Mullins, Nicholas Stark and Kursty Young. Jaylin Anders is the understudy for Amahl and Emily Day is the understudy for the mother.
In addition to Lilite’s role as director, numerous others are part of the production team for “Amahl and the Night Visitors,” including Claire Marquardt as the collaborative pianist and both Alethea-Jade Coffey and Becky Walters as co-stage managers. House crew includes Connor Eshelman, Valarie Monteith, Landon Johnson and Makayla Freeman, with Freeman also working on publicity for the production. Katelynn Faire contributed in choreography and Ryleigh Andrews served on costumes. Harmony Dewees also served on the production team. Others also assisted with costuming, including First Southern Baptist Church in Del City, Mullins, Monteith and Stewart.
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