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25th annual production features performances of Menotti holiday classic Dec. 6 & 7: WCSU Opera to present ‘Amahl and the Night Visitors’

image from 'Amahl and the Night Visitors'

DANBURY, CONN. — The Western Connecticut State University Opera will present its 25th annual production of the holiday classic “Amahl and the Night Visitors” in two performances on Friday, Dec. 6, and Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019, in Ives Concert Hall in White Hall on the university’s Midtown campus, 181 White St. in Danbury

 The “Amahl” presentations at 7 p.m. on Dec. 6 and at 1 p.m. on Dec. 7 will feature WCSU students in the principal adult roles, with a different cast appearing in each performance. General admission is $12, with a ticket price of $8 for senior citizens and children under 12. Advance reservations may be made online at or by calling (203) 837-TIXX. Tickets also will be sold at the door.

The English-language opera in one act by Gian Carlo Menotti, originally commissioned for broadcast on the NBC television network in December 1951, has become a popular holiday tradition in the Danbury area for a quarter century. 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.

Professor of Music Dr. Margaret Astrup, director and producer of the WCSU Opera production, described the Menotti opera as “a seasonal favorite of people of all faiths that resonates a universal message of self-sacrifice and generosity. This is a captivating entry work to the art form and a way for children and families to be introduced to both theatre and opera.”

The title role of Amahl will be performed on Dec. 6 by 10-year-old Nathan Horne, of Stratford, and on Dec. 7 by 11-year-old Christian Eklund, of New Fairfield. “Both Nathan and Christian join this production with considerable stage experience, as well as youthful exuberance,” Astrup remarked. “We have also cast children from the greater Danbury area to round out our shepherd families. We are thrilled to integrate the community into our cast again this year.”

The WCSU student cast for the Dec. 6 performance will feature Marguerite Walsh, of Stratford, as Amahl’s mother; Christopher Dormer, of Branford, as Kaspar; James Bavolacco, of Stratford, as Melchior; Americo Salvi, of Hamden, as Balthazar; and Collin Ouellet, of North Branford, as the Page. The cast for the Dec. 7 matinee will feature Katherine Kelly, of Bristol, as the mother; William Alldredge, of Naugutuck, as Kaspar; Anthony Deluco, of Cheshire, as Melchior; Americo Salvi, of Hamden, as Balthazar; and Devin Nichols, of Brooklyn, as the Page. Adjunct Professors of Music Andrew Gordon and Dr. Mark Snyder will be featured performers on piano and oboe, respectively, for both performances.



Western Connecticut State University changes lives by providing all students with a high-quality education that fosters their growth as individuals, scholars, professionals and leaders in a global society. Our vision: To be widely recognized as a premier public university with outstanding teachers and scholars who prepare students to contribute to the world in a meaningful way.