News Release
University Affairs Office
1801 E. Cotati Avenue
Rohnert Park, CA 94928-3609
(707) 664-2057
    November 29, 2004   
    K.A. Kleinschmidt, Director of Marketing & Promotions, (707) 664-2791


Holiday Family Opera "Amahl and the Night Visitors" Opens Dec. 3

Gian Carlo-Menotti's "Amahl and the Night Visitors" is a jewel of the musical stage. It possesses all of the elements that have made it one of the most beloved family operas. In this enduring tale of hope, transformation and generosity, ordinary kindness leads to miracles. Under the stage direction of Tori Truss and the musical expertise of SSU professor Lynne Morrow, Sonoma State University's Quantum Opera Theatre brings "Amahl and the Night Visitors" to life on the Evert B. Person stage at SSU in nine exciting performances.

Truss is known to North Bay audiences for her directing work on "You're a Good Man Charlie Brown," Thorton Wilder's "The Skin of Our Teeth" and Sam Shepard's "Curse of the Starving Class." Lynne Morrow also has a full resume including music direction on Mozart's "Magic Flute, performing and recording Leonard Bernstein's "Mass" in Berlin, and conducting Berkeley's Pacific Mozart Ensemble.

"Amahl and the Night Visitors" is the story of a young crippled boy and the miracle that cures him. Amahl and his mother have been trying to get by without wood for fire, without oil for the lamp, and now, without enough food to make a meal. On this particular night he spies a beautiful star. Using his wonderful imagination, Amahl describes it to his mother as a chariot on fire. She has heard enough of his tall tales, and admonishes him for lying. They go to sleep with hunger rumbling in their stomachs.

Meanwhile the Kings have been following the star in search of a special, holy child. In exhaustion, they stop to rest at Amahl's home. Although Amahl's mother welcomes them, she doesn't understand why the child they are seeking is any more special than her own.

Shepherds and shepherdesses bring food and dance for the Kings. In a desperate effort to help her son, the mother tries to steal some of the treasures the Kings have brought for the holy child. The Kings forgive her and offer her the gold, as they say the holy child would have done. She is so overcome with gratitude that she tries to return the gold and laments that she does not have a gift of her own to offer. Amahl decides to offer his crutch to the holy child, and in so doing, a miracle occurs. He is able to walk. All are filled with joy, and Amahl leaves with the Kings to present his gift to the holy child in person.

The beauty of "Amahl and the Night Visitors" is that the interpretation is simple and direct, within the scope of a child's imagination, says Morrow. "Adding to this is the pageantry of the production bringing together a chorus, soloists, dancers and musicians seamlessly inter-connecting."

In the Sonoma State University production, members of the community join with students to perform. The role of Amahl is being shared by Conor McCullough, a 13 year-old from Petaluma who raises parrots and cockatiels; and Jean Armanier, a 12 year-old from Santa Rosa who enjoys swimming as much as singing. Amahl's mothers are played by Elizabeth Henry from Windsor, who recently worked with Cinnabar Theater in Cabaret. Kate Willens, a music major at SSU and writer of poetry, also plays the role. Both performers are mothers in real life.

The performance schedule is:
Friday, December 3 at 8 p.m.
Saturday, December 4 at 8 p.m.
Sunday, December 5 at 5 p.m.
Tuesday, December 7 at 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, December 8 at 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, December 9 at 7:30 p.m.
Friday, December 10 at 8 p.m.
Saturday, December 11 at 8 p.m.
Sunday, December 12 at 2 p.m.

For tickets, contact the Center For Performing Box Office at (707) 664-2353
Hours of operation are noon to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday

Ticekts are $15 general, $12 faculty, alumni, staff and $8 students and seniors

The Evert B. Person Theatre is handicapped accessible. Parking at the University is $2.50 during the week, and is free on the weekends.


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Last Modified: 11/29/2004