Southern Opera and Music Theater Presents “Amahl and the Night Visitors”
Thu, 10/26/2023 - 10:23am | By: Mike Lopinto
The holiday classic “Amahl and the Night Visitors” comes to The University of Southern Mississippi’s Mannoni Performing Arts Center Auditorium for two performances only – Nov. 2 at 7:30 p.m. and Nov. 5 at 2 p.m.
Presented by The University of Southern Mississippi Symphony Orchestra as part of their 104th season, the production features members of the Southern Opera and Musical Theatre Company directed by Dr. Jonathan Yarrington and music directed by Dr. Colin McKenzie. Tickets are available at usm.edu/symphony.
“Amahl and the Night Visitors” is a family-friendly opera and has been enduringly popular since its premier in 1951. Commissioned by NBC as the first opera written for television, it debuted on Dec. 24, 1951, becoming the first network television Christmas special to become an annual tradition.
Composer Gian Carlo Menotti drew inspiration for the opera from Hieronymus Bosch’s “The Adoration of the Magi,” which hangs in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and from his childhood in Italy where gifts were brought at Christmas by the three kings instead of Santa Claus.
This holiday production tells the story of Amahl, a shepherd boy who has a propensity to tell tall tales, and his mother. Amahl’s most recent story is about a star with a tail that moves across the sky like a chariot on fire. When three splendid strangers knock on the door and ask to rest in their tiny home, Amahl is thrilled and fascinated. When the visitors describe the miraculous child they are seeking, both Amahl and his mother are moved to give reverence to the child as well. Their humble faith conjures a miracle.
Hailed as one of the most beloved modern American operas, this production provides Southern Miss students the opportunity expands upon their educational experience and produce a commercial, professional event that is enhanced by costumes, sets, lighting, and orchestra.
“Opera is the ultimate combination of all the arts,” says the show’s director Yarrington. “Performing for an audience helps our students to grow into better artists and professionals.”
The perfect mix of holiday cheer, heartfelt emotion, and a compelling story that will stay with you long afterwards, Southern Miss’s “Amahl and the Night Visitors” is a spectacle is not missed!