Tuesday, April 15, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Davis Chorale stages ‘Amahl and the Night Visitors’ on Sunday

Janie Howard-Knudsen, left, Ben Cross as Amahl, Nick Cooper, Don Deem, Brook Ostrom and John Burow perform in the Davis Choral's one-act opera "Amahl and the Night Visitors" at 4 p.m. Sunday at the Brunelle Theatre at Davis High School. Wayne Tilcock/Enterprise photo

By
From page A9 | January 04, 2013 | Leave Comment

The Davis Chorale presents Gian Carlo Menotti’s one-hour opera “Amahl and the Night Visitors” at 4 p.m. Sunday at in the Brunelle Performance Hall at Davis High School — coinciding with the time when (according to tradition) the Three Wise Men visited the baby Jesus in a stable.

According to most versions of the story, the Three Wise Men arrived bearing gifts about two weeks after Christmas.

“When I was a child in Italy, we had no Santa Claus,” wrote Menotti in 1951. “Our gifts were brought to us by the Three Kings, instead.”

Menotti (1911-2007) came to the United States in the late 1920s, and launched a career as a composer. In 1951, NBC commissioned Menotti to compose an original one-act opera for national broadcast. For months, Menotti was unable to settle on a concept. Then he visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and saw a painting attributed to Hieronymous Bosch (from the late 1400s) showing the Three Wise Men visiting the baby.

“As I was looking at the painting, suddenly I heard again, coming from the distant blue hills, the weird song of the Three Kings. I then realized they had come back to me and had brought me a gift,” Menotti wrote.

Menotti’s story involves Amahl and his mother, bystanders in the stable. Up against a tight deadline, Menotti brought in his close companion, American composer Samuel Barber, to help with the orchestrations. The first performance — a triumph — was a live broadcast on Dec. 24, 1951. Later, a video was recorded; and later still, new video versions were made.

“Amahl” also became hugely popular with community chorale groups — Rachel Kessler, who is conducting this production, recalls being in a local production in 1988.

“It’s so gratifying, the message of peace … this piece is really dear to me,” she said.

Soprano Janie Howard Knudsen, who assumed leadership of the Davis Children’s Chorale last year when Kessler retired, will sing the role of Amahl’s mother.

“I have studied this part for 30 years, going back to my days as a student at the Boston Conservatory, and I thought, ‘Someday…’ But then I had triplets!”

She added: “Amahl’s mother is a widow, a tough life, and the community hasn’t surrounded her with support. She’s terrified her son is going to die young. But by the end, her defenses come down, and she is healed.”

Ben Cross, an eighth-grader at Harper Junior High, plays Amahl — a role that involves much memorization.

“I got the songs on iTunes and listened to them while looking at the score,” Cross said.

Brook Ostrom, John Burow and Donald Deem play the Three Kings — “reflecting years of experience, in my case expressed through a deep resonant bass sound,” Deem said, with a twinkle in his eye. Burow’s son Daniel, a 10-year-old, also appears in the shepherd’s chorus.

Playing the Page is Nick Cooper, a 2007 Davis High graduate, now a technical theater major at Colorado State.

“Among other things, my part includes carrying a carpet for the Kings, and trinkets like a bird cage,” Cooper said.

Tickets for “Amahl and the Night Visitors” are $20 general and $10 students/children, or $50 for a “family ticket” (four people). Tickets may be purchased in advance at Watermelon Music in Davis or at the door on the day of the performance.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Davis Enterprise does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

News

Carlton Plaza: Home, sweet senior home

By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1, 3 Comments | Gallery

 
DTA votes for status-quo calendar

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1

UC Davis prof repeats history with Pulitzer

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Bob Poppenga enters school board race

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1, 3 Comments

 
Police warn of PG&E phone scam

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

 
Pets of the week

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2 | Gallery

 
Top Democratic lawmaker backs off ‘carbon tax’

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2, 4 Comments

Can you name these leaders?

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3, 1 Comment

 
Allen will meet voters for coffee

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3, 1 Comment

 
Take a bike tour of UCD’s Arboretum

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

‘My Father’s Garden’ author reads, signs

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Support group for widows/widowers forms in Davis

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Care planning workshops will begin Thursday

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

 
Swanson lawn signs available

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Dancers to return to Quad for 42nd powwow

By Cory Golden | From Page: A3

 
Monkey business

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3, 1 Comment

Avid Reader to hold political, educational forums

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Take a hike with the Sierra Club

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

Trek the mountains of Indonesia with Audubon speaker

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
View classic vehicles at the April Cruise-In

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

Paws for Thought: Dogs truly do make us healthier

By Evelyn Dale | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
Hear poets at The Other Voice

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Dr. G to host last show of the season

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Antidepressant use during pregnancy linked to autism

By Phyllis Brown | From Page: A4

Bunny Run will benefit Yolo SPCA

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
Former resident returns for book-signing

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A10

.

Forum

Engaged to the party girl

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B5

 
Freeloader wants to return

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B5

Pat Oliphant cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

 
Maintain good credit during college years

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

 
.

Sports

Jaso’s HR lifts A’s over Angels

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Loss to McClatchy adds to DHS’ recent soccer woes

By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

‘Boston Strong,’ meet ‘Davis Strong’ at Monday’s marathon

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Dufresnes are the Devils’ dynamic duo

By Dylan Lee | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Big AAA bats this week in Davis Little League

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2

 
.

Features

This little light of mine

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A8 | Gallery

 
What’s happening for youths

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

Citrus Circuits wraps up regionals, heads to world championships

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

 
.

Arts

 
‘Old West’ opera to be screened at I-House

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

Madrigals, choir present NYC tour repertoire

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

 
Catch the Road Crew at Picnic in the Park

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9 | Gallery

Cajun sounds to fill The Palms

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

 
Strong performances highlight ‘Visiting Mr. Green’

By Bev Sykes | From Page: A9 | Gallery

Spring Finale concert set for April 27

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

 
I See Hawks in L.A. to play at The Palms

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

.

Business

.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Comics: Tuesday, April 15, 2014 (set 1)

By Creator | From Page: B5

 
Comics: Tuesday, April 15, 2014 (set 2)

By Creator | From Page: B7