Opera brings ‘Night Visitors’ to F-M
Moorhead - Gian Carlo Menotti was a two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner and the founder of the Spoleto Festivals in Italy and Charleston, S.C. Still, he might be best remembered for being the man who brought opera to primetime TV.
Menotti composed “Amahl and the Night Visitors” for NBC in 1951, and the one-act piece was a holiday staple on the network for the next 15 years.
Though the composer was commissioned by a network, he wrote it with the stage in mind.
The Fargo-Moorhead Opera produces this Christmas classic Saturday and Sunday afternoons at Frances Frazier Comstock Theatre at Concordia College.
The work tells the story of Amahl, a former shepherd boy, whose mother was forced to sell the sheep after he was disabled. The boy is prone to telling tales, so his mother doesn’t believe him when he sees the star of Bethlehem or tells her three wise men have come to their house looking for a place to rest.
What happens next is, well, a Christmas miracle.
The opera has become a favorite of David Hamilton, the opera company’s executive director. He saw it live for the first time when he was 3 and was hooked.
“The story makes me cry every time. Even when I’m in rehearsal. It is so heartwarming,” says Hamilton, who also sings tenor in the production.
As the work was written for a broad TV audience, “Amahl” is an accessible work for first-time opera goers, Hamilton says.
“The chorus sounds just like a Christmas carol you heard somewhere,” he says. “It’s totally a great first opera. It just speaks to everybody.”
If You Go
WHAT: “Amahl and the Night Visitors”
WHEN: 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
WHERE: Frances Frazier Comstock Theatre, Concordia College, Moorhead
TICKETS: $20 for adults, $5 for students. Available at www.fmopera.org and (701) 239-4558.