Opera Workshop Presents Amahl And The Night Visitors Friday-Sunday, Nov. 14-16, At UNK Fine Arts Recital Hall

Dr. Anne Foradori
UNK Department of Music and Performing Arts, 308.865.8610

NOTE TO MEDIA: There should be some great photo possibilities Friday at either performance as students from the various schools bring in their donations for the Campus Kitchen. You may want to contact Dr. Foradori for further details. You can reach her at: 308.865.8610 –gn
The Opera Workshop at the University of Nebraska at Kearney will perform “Amahl and the Night Visitors” by Gian Carlo Menotti Friday-Sunday, Nov. 14-16, in the UNK Fine Arts Recital Hall.
“Amahl and the Night Visitors” tells the fictional story of a young boy, Amahl, who encounters the Magi on their journey to Bethlehem to see the Christ Child. For this production, the setting has been changed to the 1930’s and the Great Depression during the dust bowl in Nebraska.

The opera will be performed twice on Friday for students from area schools, and again Saturday, Nov. 15, at 7:30 p.m. and at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 16, for the general public. The Friday performances will be at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.

“The fully staged workshop production is 45 minutes in length and is appropriate for all ages,” Dr. Foradori said, adding that the Opera Workshop is teaming up with the Campus Kitchens project for this performance. Attendees are asked to give a freewill offering of cash or a canned food item to purchase tickets. All donations will go to support Campus Kitchens.

“Teachers have been encouraged to develop their own strategies with classes to determine what they can contribute,” said Dr. Anne Foradori, UNK Opera Workshop director. “The possibilities are virtually endless. The goal of this approach to determining a ‘price of admission’ is to foster the same ideas of citizenship and charitable giving that are espoused by the Campus Kitchen Project.”

Since UNK Campus Kitchen was established in 2006, some 12,000 meals have been delivered to the hungry in Central Nebraska. UNK volunteers have spent nearly 6,200 hours cooking and delivering meals.

Dr. Foradori related the fictitious, but plausible, story of Amahl, noting that, “The story transcends time and location. Amahl and his mother suffer hardships and seek relief from their pain and hunger–both physical and spiritual. The visit of the Magi brings relief, hope and healing that they so desperately need…Amahl and his mother live in Nebraska during the 30s and suffer the hardships of the dust bowl. They rely on the support of their neighbors–other shepherds (in this case, the farming community)–to offer hospitality to the ‘kings,’ who in this case are well-to-do travelers.” 

“One challenge of staging any opera is to give ‘voice’ to the chorus”, Dr. Foradori said. “In this production, the cast is small enough and the space intimate enough that the shepherds will be thought of as a farmer and his wife, two sisters, a mother and daughter or as a farm family of parents and children. These ‘characters’ will be developed in the imagination of the chorus members.”

Questions and ticket inquiries may be directed to Dr. Anne Foradori in the UNK Department of Music and Performing Arts at 308.865.8610. 
Area schools that will be attending the Friday performances include: Ansley, Anselmo-Merna, Doniphan-Trumbell, Franklin, Hastings (St. Michael), and Kearney (Faith Christian School, Kenwood Elementary and Park Elementary). 

The student cast and the roles they play are listed below, alphabetically, by hometown and state: 
Aaron McCoy (page) 
Kirby Johnson (Shepherd) 
Alex Ritter (Balthazar) 
Blake Thompson (Melchior) 
Grand Island-
Aranea Spencer (Shepherd) 
Grand Island-
Patrick York (Kaspar) 
Amber Kosmicki (Shepherd) 
Michelle Leigh (Shepherd) 
Clifford Holman (Shepherd) 
Justus Hanson (Amahl), 6th grader at Faith Christian School 
Amy Jensen (Shepherd) 
Joseph Knispel (Shepherd) 
Mary Lanka (Shepherd) 
Mallory Mawby (Shepherd) 
Katherine Ridder (Shepherd) 
Steve Wolf (Shepherd) 
Dana Hilde (Shepherd) 
Brooke Scripter (Mother) 
North Platte-
Michael Conley (Shepherd) 
Lauren Rudolph (Shepherd) 
Ashley Vandeventer (Shepherd) 
Katherine Bauer (Shepherd) 
           Mountain Home-
Wesley Pendergrass (Shepherd) 
Jillian Parker (Shepherd) 

Student dancers include the following: Emi Kamon, Yoshiki Naoi, Satoru Nishimoto and Yuko Wada. 
The faculty production crew includes: Ann Bauer, accompanist; Dr. David Bauer, chorus director; Dr. Anne Foradori, musical and stage director; Darin Himmerich, technical support; and Gary Schaaf, choreographer. 
Costumes and props provided by Kearney Community Theatre and University Theatre at Kearney.