AMAHL AND THE NIGHT VISITORS
by Gian Carlo Menotti
A holiday classic for the whole family
Digital Premiere: Saturday, December 12, 2020 at 7:30PM
Since its Christmas Eve premiere in 1951, this story has warmed the hearts of audiences around the world. Three Kings, following the star to Bethlehem, stop for shelter at the home of Amahl, a poor, crippled shepherd boy and his widowed mother. Amahl offers his own simple gift to the Wondrous Child and then a miracle happens. Making this production extra special is the casting of Maestro Dala’s son Andreas.
Runtime: 45 minutes.
Sung in English.
Only available streaming with a 2020–2021 Vancouver Opera Digital Season Subscription. Learn more.
CASTING AND PERFORMANCES ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE.
Composed by Gian Carlo Menotti
First performed and commissioned by NBC as a live broadcast on December 24, 1951.
Based on Hieronymus Bosch's The Adoration of the Magi
Gian Carlo Menotti (July 7, 1911 – February 1, 2007) was an Italian-American composer and librettist who wrote the classic Christmas opera Amahl and the Night Visitors, along with over two dozen other operas intended to appeal to popular taste. He won a Pulitzer Prize twice, for The Consul (1950) and for The Saint of Bleecker Street (1955) and founded the Festival dei Due Mondi (Festival of the Two Worlds) in Spoleto in 1958 and its American counterpart, Spoleto Festival USA, in 1977.
Place: Near Bethlehem.
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 ("Amahl! Amahl!"). 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 ("O Mother You Should Go Out and See"; "Stop Bothering Me!").
Later that night, Amahl's mother weeps, praying that Amahl not become a beggar ("Don't Cry Mother Dear"). After bedtime ("From Far Away We Come"), there is a knock at the door and the mother tells Amahl to go see who it is ("Amahl ... Yes Mother!"). 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 ("Good Evening!"; "Come In!"), 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.
MUSIC YOU NEED TO HEAR
Another Brick in the Wall: The Opera had its world premiere in Montreal, Quebec in 2017. It was created to mark the 375th anniversary of Montreal, as it was after a concert at Montreal’s Olympic Stadium in 1977 that Roger Waters got the idea for The Wall.
Pictured: Étienne Dupuis as Pink at the world premiere of Another Brick in the Wall: The Opera in Montreal in 2017.
CAST & CREATIVE
Director: Sarah Pelzer
Boy Soprano: Andreas Dala
Music Director: Leslie Dala
With members of the Vancouver Opera Orchestra
Director: Sarah Jane Pelzer
Vancouver based Sarah Jane Pelzer is a Canadian stage director and teacher. She has directed, assisted and taught across the country at Vancouver, Edmonton and Manitoba Opera, Opera on the Avalon, Pacific Opera Victoria, the Victoria Conservatory.
Recent career highlights include Dido and Aeneas and an original adaptation of The Fairy Queen for the VCM’s Opera Studio and Pauline Viardot’s Cendrillon at Vancouver Opera.
Prior to her transition to directing and teaching, Sarah was a performer and theatre-maker most known for creating the role of Jane Doe in the international award-winning musical Ride the Cyclone and as artistic associate and co-founder of SNAFU Dance Theatre.
VO audiences have been enjoying Sarah’s work as Surtitlist for the past few seasons, and she will return to VO next as Director for the upcoming Amahl and the Night Visitors. Sarah is an alumna of the Vancouver Opera Yulanda M. Faris Young Artist Program.
Boy Soprano: Andreas Dala
14 year old, Andreas Dala has actively been involved in the Vancouver music scene for several years. Andreas started piano at the age of 6 and has been a member of Vancouver Bach Choir from the age of 5. He has been involved in numerous operatic productions including Lillian Alling at the Banff Centre, and his Vancouver Opera résumé includes Evita, Turandot, The Elixir of Love, Dead Man Walking and Eugene Onegin. He had the honour of singing a duet with acclaimed soprano Simone Osbourne at the Wall Centre Gala for the Vancouver Bach Choir and had the solo boy soprano part in Elijah at the Orpheum Theatre with the Vancouver Symphony. Andreas was also a scholarship winner at the Barbara Clague Competition. In June 2016, Andreas was a member of the Children’s chorus of Midsummer Night’s Dream at UBC, sharing the role of Moth with his brother, Christopher. He also participated in the VOA summer opera camp in 2016 and 2017. Last year, Andreas appeared as the soloist in The Snowman with the VSO.
Andreas first sang the title role of Amahl in Amahl and the Night Visitors with Opera Kelowna in 2019.
Music Director: Leslie Dala
Maestro Dala began his career with Vancouver Opera as a pianist and répétiteur, but now enjoys a multifaceted career spanning the genres of opera, symphonic music, choral and contemporary works.
Leslie's national profile has grown steadily with guest conducting appearances with Pacific Opera Victoria, Edmonton Opera, Saskatoon Opera, Tapastry Opera, Toronto Symphony Orchestra (backing the Indigo Girls), The VSO (backing Sarah McLachlan), Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra, Kamloops Symphony, Thirteen Strings of Ottawa, the COSI Festival in Sulmona, Italy, the Goh Ballet, University of Toronto Opera Department and the Glenn Gould School Opera Program.
On the international stage, Leslie has toured Beijing, China and Taiwan, Taipei as guest conductor with Toronto’s Soundstreams, and has conducted William Bolcom's Dinner at Eight at the Wexford Opera Festival in Ireland. Leslie has also been a member of the music staff with Santa Fe Opera, L'Opera National du Rhin (France). He has conducted in Italy and the Czech Republic and last year made his debut at Carnegie Hall.
Leslie serves as the Musical Director of Vancouver Bach Choir and is Music Director Emeritus of the Vancouver Academy of Music Symphony Orchestra. He heads the Music Department at Vancouver Opera as well as being the Program Director of the Yulanda M. Faris Young Artists Program and host of VO’s podcast Offstage.