Overview

New Production! One of the most popular family holiday classics of all time! This timeless production tells the story of a miraculous encounter between Amahl, a boy with a lame leg, and the Three Kings. Menotti’s opera presents an inspiring message of how faith, charity, and love can work miracles.

Amahl and the Night Visitors
Opera in one act
Music and libretto by Gian Carlo Menotti
Premiered in New York, 1951 (live NBC broadcast)

Sung in English
Running time is one hour

Locations

Grosse Pointe War Memorial
32 Lake Shore Drive, Grosse Pointe Farms

Macomb Center for the Performing Arts
44575 Garfield Road, Clinton Township

Artists

Natalie Nikolajevs

Amahl

Natalie Nikolajevs made her Michigan Opera Theatre debut as the Shepherd Boy in Tosca last season, and loves every moment performing with MOT. She is a member of the Michigan Opera Theatre Children’s Chorus and played a sailor and understudied Sir Joseph and Dick Deadeye in their production of H.M.S. Pinafore. Later this season, she will be appearing in Hansel and Gretel and The Secret World of Og. Natalie studies dance at Dearborn Dance Academy and also enjoys performing in musicals. Her favorite musical theatre roles that she has played are Marie in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella, Molly in Annie and Iago in Aladdin Jr. Natalie would like to thank Suzanne Acton for always being supportive of her, her mother for taking her to every rehearsal and for helping her practice and Michelle Martin for coaching her for auditions.

Natalie Nikolajevs

Amahl

Ashton Fell

Amahl

Ashton Fell is a 7th grader at Brownell Middle School and resides in Grosse Pointe Farms. He excels academically and has a passion for the performing arts. His passion began with playing musical instruments. He played both the piano and saxophone from age six to age 11. At Brownell, he sings in the choir and has performed in their musical theater productions. He has performed as a sailor and guard in The Little Mermaid and as Drake in Annie, both produced by the Grosse Pointe Schools. He has also performed in solo recitals singing “Poor Wayfairing Stranger,” “I Met a Girl” and “Jingle Bell Rock.” Currently Ashton is a Chorister in the Michigan Opera Theater Children’s Chorus and is taking voice lesson from Dr. Sloane Artis. He is a volunteer each year for “Christmas Eve in the D,” which delivers meals to those in need on Christmas Eve.

Ashton Fell

Amahl

Katherine DeYoung

the Mother

Mezzo-soprano Katherine DeYoung is a native of Traverse City, Mich. and is delighted to join the Michigan Opera Theatre Studio. Recently, Katherine completed her master’s degree at the University of Houston where she performed Isabella in “L’Italiana in Algeri,” Gertrude in “Romeo et Juliette,” and Elizabeth Proctor in “The Crucible.” Her favorite role performed is the title role in “Carmen” with Opera in the Ozarks. This summer, Katherine looks forward to joining Santa Fe Opera as a member of the apprentice singer program. Next season with Michigan Opera Theatre, she will perform Sandman and cover Hansel in “Hansel and Gretel,” perform Old Lady in “Candide” and cover Olga in “Eugene Onegin.” Katherine is a District Winner of the 2018 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and is an alumna of Michigan State University.

Katherine DeYoung

the Mother

Michael Day

King Kaspar

Tenor Michael Day hails from Rockford, Ill. and is a returning Michigan Opera Theatre Studio Artist. At MOT, he recently performed Spoletta in “Tosca,” Pablo Picasso and F. Scott Fitzgerald in Ricky Ian Gordon and Royce Vavrek’s “27” and Don Basilio in “The Marriage of Figaro.” His performance credits also include Indiana University Opera Theatre, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Indianapolis Pro Musica, Bloomington Chamber Singers, and Utah Festival Opera. This past summer, he returned to Opera Theatre of Saint Louis as a Richard Gaddes Festival Artist, singing the role of Al Joad in Gordon and Michael Korie’s “The Grapes of Wrath.” Michael is a two-time Metropolitan Opera National Council District Winner and winner of the Indianapolis Matinee Musicale Competition. He holds a bachelor’s degree in music education and vocal performance as well as a master’s degree in voice from Indiana University. Michael will return to Opera Theatre of Saint Louis this summer to perform the role of Leo Hubbard in Blitzstein’s “Regina.” Next season at MOT, he will perform the title role in “Candide” and reprise the role of Al Joad in “The Grapes of Wrath.”

Michael Day

King Kaspar

Harry Greenleaf

King Melchior

Wixom, Mich. native Harry Greenleaf is returning to Michigan Opera Theatre as the Studio’s resident baritone. He made his debut with MOT in 2016 in the role of Top in “The Tender Land.” His credits with MOT also include Leo Stein and Man Ray in Ricky Ian Gordon and Royce Vavrek’s “27,” Sciarrone in “Tosca,” Marullo in “Rigoletto,” Le Bret in “Cyrano,” Jake Wallace in “The Girl of the Golden West” and Moralès in “Carmen.” He has been a Studio Artist with the Wolf Trap Opera Company, an Apprentice Artist with Des Moines Metro Opera and a Young Artist with the Glimmerglass Festival. He holds a Master of Music degree from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and is an alumnus of the Michigan State University College of Music. This summer, Harry will reprise the role of Top in “The Tender Land” with Des Moines Metro Opera. Next season at MOT, Harry will perform Captain and cover the title role in “Eugene Onegin,” as well as perform the roles of Fiorello and Sergeant and cover Figaro in “The Barber of Seville.” He will also perform Maximillian in “Candide” and cover the father in “Hansel and Gretel.”

Harry Greenleaf

King Melchior

Allen Michael Jones

King Balthazar

With a commanding bass voice, Allen Michael Jones has forged a career not only in opera but also as a professional voice-over and radio artist. A native of Atlanta, he received a master’s degree in voice from Georgia State University and is excited to join the Michigan Opera Theatre Studio. Previous roles include Sarastro in “Die Zauberflöte,” Balthazar in “Amahl and the Night Visitors,” Colline in “La bohème,” Don Basilio in “The Barber of Seville,” and Commendatore in “Don Giovanni.” This season, Allen Michael will perform Zaretski in “Eugene Onegin” and the governor in “Candide” with Michigan Opera Theatre.

Allen Michael Jones

King Balthazar

Branden C.S. Hood

the Page

Branden C.S. Hood is a frequent performer with Michigan
Opera Theatre. He sung the role of Mr. Dashwood in MOT’s 2017 production of Little Women and is a member of the MOT Chorus and Community Outreach Programs. Other performances include Ford in Falstaff with Opera MODO in Detroit, Falstaff in Die lustigen weiber von Windsor, Il Conte in Le nozze di Figaro and the title role of Don Giovanni
 with the Lyric Opera of Weimar in Germany. He has attended the young artist programs of the Martina Arroyo Foundation’s Prelude to Performance, Pine Mountain Music Festival (2010), Opera Saratoga (Outreach Artist 2010), and Dayton Opera (2009).

Mr. Hood holds Master of Music
and specialist degrees from the University of Michigan and a Bachelor of Music degree in Opera Emphasis/ Vocal Performance from the Boston Conservatory. He is a recipient of
 The Presser Foundation Award and
of Encouragement Awards from the Michigan District of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and the Mario Lanza Institute.

Branden C.S. Hood

the Page

Oriol Sans

Conductor

Oriol Sans was born in Catalonia, Spain, where he began his musical studies when he was five years old. At the age of nine he began to study violin and piano when he became a member of the Escolania de Montserrat. He graduated in Orchestral and Choral Conducting from the Barcelona Conservatory, and received the school’s Honors Award in both specialties.

Oriol has complemented his musical studies with masterclasses in Spain, Austria, Germany, England, France, Canada, and the United States with Professors George Hurst, Denise Ham, Rodolfo Saglimbeni, Robert Houlihan, Salvador Mas, Jörg Bierhance, Jesús López-Cobos, David Effron, Gennady Rozhdestvensky, and Gustav Meier. He also holds a degree in Humanities from the Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona, and he completed graduate courses in musicology at the Autònoma of Barcelona University.

Oriol Sans

Conductor

Jennifer Williams

Director

Acclaimed by The San Francisco Chronicle as an “imaginative” director of “particular ingenuity,” director Jennifer Williams works throughout the U.S. and internationally, including at the Deutsche Oper Berlin, Staatsoper Stuttgart, Komische Oper Berlin, Oper Frankfurt, Houston Grand Opera, The Glimmerglass Festival, and the San Francisco Opera Center. She is the founding Artistic Director of DC Public Opera, an experimental company that creates site-specific, immersive performance installations in Washington, DC. She recently directed acclaimed new productions of Mohammed Fairouz’s Sumeida’s Song and Ricky Ian Gordon and Royce Vavrek’s 27 for Pittsburgh Opera and “consistently imaginative” and “extraordinarily beautiful” new productions of Les contes d’Hoffmann and La bohème for Miami Music Festival. Recent and upcoming engagements include directing Ariadne auf Naxos at Austin Opera, the world premiere of Backwards from Winter for soprano, electric cello and computer (Center for Contemporary Opera, NYC), A Midsummer Night’s Dream with video projections (Miami Music Festival), as well as serving as a Drama Coach for the Houston Grand Opera Studio. In 2018, she makes her Kennedy Center debut as Associate Director for Francesca Zambello on a new production of La traviata and directs new productions for Michigan Opera Theatre and New Camerata Opera, New York’s immersive opera company.

Jennifer Williams

Director

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Synopsis

Place: Near Bethelehem

Time: The first century, just after the birth of Christ

Amahl, a disabled boy who can walk only with a crutch, has a problem with telling tall tales. He is sitting outside playing his shepherd’s pipe when his mother calls for him. After much persuasion, he enters the house but his mother does not believe him when he tells her there is an amazing star “as big as a window” outside over their roof.

Later that night, Amahl’s mother weeps, praying that Amahl not become a beggar. After bedtime, there is a knock at the door and the mother tells Amahl to go see who it is. He is amazed when he sees three splendidly dressed kings (the Magi). At first the mother does not believe Amahl, but when she goes to the door to see for herself, she is stunned. The Three Kings tell the mother and Amahl they are on a long journey to give gifts to a wondrous Child and they would like to rest at their house, to which the mother agrees saying that all she can offer is “a cold fireplace and a bed of straw”. The mother goes to fetch firewood, and Amahl seizes the opportunity to speak with the kings. King Balthazar answers Amahl’s questions about his life as a king and asks what Amahl does. Amahl responds that he was once a shepherd, but his mother had to sell his sheep. Now, he and his mother will have to go begging. Amahl then talks with King Kaspar, who is childlike, eccentric, and a bit deaf. Kaspar shows Amahl his box of magic stones, beads, and licorice, and offers Amahl some of the candy. The mother returns and tells Amahl to not be a nuisance. He defends himself, saying “They kept asking me questions,” when of course it has in fact been Amahl asking the kings questions. Amahl is told to go fetch the neighbors so the kings may be fed and entertained properly.

After the neighbors have left and the kings are resting, the mother attempts to steal for her son some of the kings’ gold that was meant for the Christ child. She is thwarted by the kings’ page. When Amahl wakes to find the page grabbing his mother, he attacks him. Seeing Amahl’s weak defense of his mother and understanding the motives for the attempted theft, King Melchior says she may keep the gold as the Holy Child will not need earthly power or wealth to build his kingdom. The mother says she has waited all her life for such a king and asks the kings to take back the gold. She wishes to send a gift but has nothing to send. Amahl, too, has nothing to give the Child except his crutch. When he offers it to the kings, his leg is miraculously healed. With permission from his mother, he leaves with the kings to see the Child and give his crutch in thanks for being healed.

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