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24th annual production features performances of Menotti holiday classic Nov. 30 & Dec. 1: WCSU Opera to present ‘Amahl and the Night Visitors’

DANBURY, CONN. — The Western Connecticut State University Opera will present its 24th annual production of the holiday classic “Amahl and the Night Visitors” in two performances on Friday, Nov. 30, and Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018, 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 Nov. 30 and at 2 p.m. on Dec. 1 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 nearly 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 Nov. 30 by 9-year-old Nathan Horne, of Stratford; and on Dec. 1 by 12-year-old Nicholas Eklund, of New Fairfield. “Both Nathan and Nicholas join this production with considerable stage experience, both amateur and professional,” Astrup remarked. “If you haven’t seen ‘Amahl and the Night Visitors,’ this is the year to do it!”

The WCSU student cast for the Nov. 30 performance will feature Abigail Swartout, of Horsehead, New York, as Amahl’s mother; William Alldredge, of Naugatuck, as Kaspar; Anthony Deluco, of Cheshire, as Melchior; Americo Salvi, of Hamden, as Balthazar; and James Bavolacco, of Stratford, as the Page. The cast for the Dec. 1 matinee will feature Cathryn Jordan, of New Britain, as the mother; Peter Ryan, of Watertown, as Kaspar; Matthew Sacco, of Orange, as Melchior; Kevin Michaud, of Bristol, as Balthazar; and Zachary Nelson, of Wiccopee, New York, as the Page.

Featured pianists will be Andrew Gordon on Nov. 30 and Susan Anthony Klein for the Dec. 1 matinee. Adjunct Professor of Music Dr. Mark Snyder will play oboe for both performances.

For more information, contact the Office of University Relations at (203) 837-8486.



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.