‘Amahl and the Night Visitors’ comes to the Catholic Church of the Annunciation

TThe holiday opera “Amahl and the Night Visitors” will be performed at 7 pm today (December 5) at the Annunciation Catholic Church in Columbus. The show is free and open to the public.

Early arrival is encouraged and doors open at 6:30 p.m.

The opera is performed by the Golden Triangle Theater, under the direction of Garrett Torbert, the group’s creative and executive director.

During a break from a dress rehearsal on Thursday, he said the opera was performed last year at another church in Columbus. For 19 years, the Catholic Church of the Annunciation hosted the Columbus Choral Society’s annual performance of Handel’s “Messiah”, but due to the pandemic this year’s performance was canceled.

Torbert said he decided to organize the Golden Triangle Theater shows in an effort to help maintain the tradition of the Christmas performing arts in the Golden Triangle. He is a voice teacher in the State of Mississippi and pianist / organist at the Annunciation Catholic Church.

The opera tells the story of Amahl (played by Isaac Zarandona), a young boy with a big imagination and a bigger heart, and his mother (Payton Tanner) who is desperate to provide for her. son. During the night the three kings – Melchior (Trevor Blood), Balthazar (Benjamin Somervell) and Kaspar (William Tiffin) – stop at Amahl’s house on their journey to bring gifts to the baby Jesus.

About 30 to 40 people worked to prepare Amahl’s production for his two performances. The first free performance took place on Friday.

“Amahl and the Night Visitors” was commissioned by NBC and first performed by the NBC Opera Theater on December 24, 1951 in New York City at NBC Studio 8H at Rockefeller Center, where it was broadcast live on television as that first production of the Hallmark Hall of Fame. It was the first opera specially composed for television in America.

According to the Golden Triangle Theater program, Menotti struggled to adapt to a subject for the opera, but was inspired by Hieronymus Bosch’s painting on wood panel, “The Adoration of the Magi,” hanging at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

Menotti wanted Amahl to be played by a boy. In the production notes contained in the piano-voice score, he writes: “It is the composer’s express wish that the role of Amahl should always be played by a boy. Neither the musical concept nor the dramatic concept of the opera allows the substitution of a woman costumed as a child.

Torbert founded the Golden Triangle Theater in 2021 to help create and cultivate a passion for theater and the performing arts in Columbus. Its mission is stated on the website as follows: “We strive to reach out to youth in the communities of the Golden Triangle and to provide educational opportunities that cultivate a passion for performing. Through this, individuals are able to explore their creativity and collaborate with others while gaining the confidence to be successful.

For more information on the Golden Triangle Theater, including upcoming programs and auditions, visit the website, goldentriangletheater.com.

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