Maritime Concert Opera presents Amahl and the Night Visitors
Want a wonderful, family-friendly event to mark the end of the Christmas season? Want to support local singers? Then come out and experience Maritime Concert Opera’s fully-staged and costumed production of Gian-Carlo Menotti’s great seasonal opera, Amahl and the Night Visitors, at Bridgewater United Church on January 5 and St John’s Anglican in Lunenburg on January 6. Both shows start at 3 pm. Tickets, available at Carousel Books (Bridgewater), Kinburn Pharmasave (Mahone Bay) and Shop on the Corner (Lunenburg), are $15.00 for adults and $5.00 for children 12 and under.
To open the programme, noted Lunenburg performer & composer, Mary Knickle, will debut her new opera, Miryam, exploring the nature of Mary of Nazareth. A free will offering will be taken to help defray the costs of producing Miryam.
Amahl and the Night Visitors, sung in English, was the first ever written for television, and tells the story of a crippled child and his mother who encounter the three kings on their way to Bethlehem, with life-changing results. Funny and touching, it’s a beautiful piece that runs under an hour.
MCO Artistic Director, Nina Scott- Stoddart, who has directed the production, believes that when Lunenburg County people work together, wonderful things happen. “Community participation in live opera is a very important part of our mandate on the South Shore,” states Ms. Scott-Stoddart. “We know there is tremendous talent here, and staging Amahl has been a chance for the people in our Lunenburg County communities to share their gifts and talents in the same spirit of Christmas that drew the three kings to unite in their quest for the Christ Child.”
The cast is entirely local in this production that will be fully staged by Scott-Stoddart and costumed by Anne Morison. The accompanist is Gus Webb, a Lunenburg musician and music teacher.
Well-known Lunenburg performers such as Ruth Ernst of the Ernst Family Singers and singer/songwriter Mary Knickle play the lead roles of Amahl and his mother. Stephen Kristenson, pastor of St. John’s Lutheran Church in Mahone Bay, and John Ernst, from One Blood, a sub-set of The Ernst Family of Singers who recently reached the semi-finals on Canada Has Talent, play two of the Kings, Melchior and Kaspar, while the third King, Balthazar, is played by a young singer from HB Studios of Lunenburg, Rob O’Quinn. Peter Ernst, also of the Ernst Family Singers, plays the Page. The chorus is also entirely local, drawn from singers from Lunenburg, Mahone Bay, LaHave, Chester and Bridgewater. The small, but critical part of The Parrot is performed by Nigel, the African Grey from Sunnybrook.
“Our faithful and talented MCO Chorus sing the roles of the shepherds and townspeople who, individually have very little, but collectively manage to scrape together a feast literally fit for kings,” laughs Scott-Stoddart . “We even have Nigel, a live African Grey parrot, on stage!”