181 White Street, Danbury, CT 06810. Phone: 203-837-8486.
WCSU Opera to stage 19th annual production of Menotti classic Dec. 6 & 7. The Western Connecticut State University Opera will present the holiday classic "Amahl and the Night Visitors" in two performances at the university at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 6, and Saturday, Dec. 7. This year's presentation will mark the 19th annual WCSU Opera production of the English-language opera by Gian Carlo Menotti, originally commissioned for broadcast on the NBC television network in December 1951. Both performances of the one-act opera will be in Ives Concert Hall in White Hall on the university's Midtown campus, 181 White St. in Danbury. General admission will be $10, with ticket prices of $5 for senior citizens and children 12 and under. Admission will be free for WCSU students with valid ID. Advance reservations may be made online at www.wcsu.edu/tickets or by calling (203) 837-TIXX. Tickets also will be sold at the door. The opera, which runs approximately 50 minutes, tells the story of an impoverished and crippled shepherd boy's encounter with the Three Kings on their way to Bethlehem and the heart-warming outcome of their chance meeting. In notes describing his composition of the opera, Menotti explained he was inspired by his fond memories of the Three Kings as the legendary source of Christmas gifts during his childhood in Italy. Western Professor of Music Dr. Margaret Astrup is the director and producer for the opera, which will feature a different cast of student and community performers for each of the two evening presentations. Astrup noted the WCSU Opera production "has all the elements of grand opera with arias, ensembles and choruses, but it is also filled with spectacle and humor. Parts will make you laugh, and others may leave you in tears." "'Amahl and the Night Visitors' is a seasonal favorite for people of all faiths, and resonates a universal message of self-sacrifice and generosity," she said. "This opera is a captivating work that provides entry to the art form and introduces children and families to both theater and opera." The Friday evening performance will feature Chase Harper, of Woodbury, as Amahl; Diana Rock, of South Windsor, as Amahl's mother; and Erick Sanchez, of Stamford, as Kaspar. Featured performers on Saturday evening will be Richard Owen III, of Brewster, N.Y., as Amahl; Kassiani Kontothanasis, of Meriden, as Amahl's mother; and Toure Richardson, of Waterbury, as Kaspar. The other royal visitors will be performed both evenings by Steve Valenzuela, of Waterbury, as Melchior; and Stephen Wynn, of Greenwich, as Balthazar. Ryan Reynolds, of New Fairfield, and Nicholas Ciasullo, of Naugatuck, will appear as the page. Sarah Petersen, of West Hartford, Mark-Anthony Hamblin, of Waterbury, and Delecia Woods, of Waterbury, will be featured dancers. For more information, contact the Office of University Relations at (203) 837-8486.