Tuesday, September 23, 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 |

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.

Comments

comments

.

News

UC joins U.N.-supported Principles for Responsible Investment

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A1

 
Nature’s beauty is in our own back yard

By Charlotte Orr | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Jury finds Dixon man guilty of mortgage fraud

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A1

 
 
U.S., Arab allies hit Islamists in Syria, Iraq

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

Bob Dunning: These are the tanks we get

By Bob Dunning | From Page: A2 | Gallery

 
Wind threatens firefighting effort

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Harmony Award nominations sought

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Street Food Rodeo rolls into West Davis

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Wolk kicks off ‘Morning with the Mayor’

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
So you want to be an entomologist?

By Kathy Keatley Garvey | From Page: A4

Sheriff’s Office honored for safe-driving initiative

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
Baha’is celebrate 50th anniversary in Davis

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

Downtown gift cards get a new perk

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Unscheduled landing

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4 | Gallery

Free community yard sale Saturday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Forum will answer questions about new license law

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
Pets of the week

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5 | Gallery

Applications open for Biberstein grants

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

 
.

Forum

Daughter has her own opinions

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

 
Brother’s drinking out of control

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

Donors support school matinees

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

 
A big Explorit thanks!

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

Teacher tenure becomes key campaign issue

By Tom Elias | From Page: A6

 
Tom Meyer cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

We must not stand for perpetual war

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

 
Don’t cut all the trees

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

A great Day in the Country

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

 
.

Sports

Davis field hockey team rights ship at Lassen

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

 
Devil golfers soar past Sheldon

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

Blue Devils bounce back against Pleasant Grove

By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Running game powered Devils in first football win

By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

UCD roundup: Aggie women reach finals of East/West golf tourney

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2Comments are off for this post | Gallery

 
U11s get a win in an eventful weekend of youth football

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

A’s support Samardzija in a win over Angels

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
.

Features

.

Business

.

Obituaries

Carol L. Walsh

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Comics: Tuesday, September 23, 2014 (set 1)

By Creator | From Page: B5

 
Comics: Tuesday, September 23, 2014 (set 2)

By Creator | From Page: B7