Arts & Leisure

Opera production offers twist on Three Kings story

THE SALISBURY CONGREGATIONAL Church in Salisbury village will be the site of Barn Opera’s presentation of the holiday opera “Amahl and the Night Visitors” on Dec. 13 and 14. The story centers around the three kings on the way to visit baby Jesus.

BRANDON/SALISBURY — Barn Opera of Brandon will complete its second season — “The Season of Love” — with a presentation of Giancarlo Menotti’s holiday opera, “Amahl and the Night Visitors,” at Salisbury Congregational Church on Dec. 13 and 14.
“Amahl” is the story of a poor mother and her crippled son who exhibit extraordinary generosity by giving everything that they own to provide comfort for three kings that are on their way to visit the Christ child. In a moment of self-protection, and unconditional love for her son, Amahl’s mother tries to right cosmic injustice by stealing some gold. After a brief outbreak, the kings return the humbling generosity, and a miracle occurs as a result.
This production of “Amahl and the Night Visitors” represents the first time in over a decade that this one-act, heartwarming story will be produced in the Addison/Rutland community. In addition, it is also the first collaboration with Salisbury Congregational Church, and the second production of Barn Opera to have an all-Vermonter principal cast as well as a local amateur chorus.
“Amahl and the Night Visitors” will feature a principal cast of professional artists that all currently reside in Vermont, including soprano Helen Lyons of Ferrisburgh (Amahl’s Mother) who returns to Barn Opera after her appearance as “Madama Butterfly” in Barn Opera’s inaugural production. Vermonters will recognize her voice as the newest host of VPR Classical. Also in the cast are baritone Nicholas Tocci of Pawlet (King Melchior), who was recently heard as Escamillo in Barn Opera’s “Carmen” in May, and made his directorial debut of “The Barber of Seville” in February 2019; and tenor Martin Schreiner of Rutland (King Kaspar), who makes his Barn Opera debut after performing throughout the region and country.
Baritone Cailin Marcel Manson of Putney (King Balthsazar) is no stranger to Barn Opera after his performance of Sharpless in Barn Opera’s production of “Madama Butterfly.” In addition to being a vocalist, Manson also is the conductor of the Bennington Choral Society, the Keene (N.H.) Chorale and is the head of the music program at Clark University (Massachusetts).
Brothers Joshua and Jonathan Kafumbe of Middlebury (Amahl) will make their operatic debuts in the title role on alternating nights. Jonathan, a local elementary school student, and Joshua, in middle school, come from a remarkably musical family; their mother, Betty Kafumbe, is the music director of the Allegro Community Chorus out of the Middlebury Community Music Centre.
Making her debut with Barn Opera is pianist Kristen Carr of Brandon (pianist/music director). Carr is well known to the Brandon community for her work with Otter Valley Union High School’s annual musical. A multi-faceted performer, Carr has also accompanied singers and bands of all genres through the region. Stage direction and production design will be by Barn Opera Artistic Director Joshua Collier. This will be Collier’s eighth production as the company’s director. To read his thoughts about this production and every subsequent Barn Opera production, please visit the “Collier Coffee Chat” blog at BARNOPERA.com
This production is a collaboration between Barn Opera and the Salisbury Congregational Church, which will be the venue for every performance of the production. There will be two showings per day, at 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. The opera runs just under an hour, and please note the Salisbury Congregational Church has only one restroom.
Adult tickets are $30 each, and through remarkable generosity of the Compass Music and Arts Foundation as a holiday gift to the community, children’s tickets will be subsidized (up to two tickets per ticketed adult). If you or anyone you know are interested in contributing financially to the subsidization of these tickets, thereby affording the opportunity to experience this production for children up to 17 years old, contact Acting Executive Director Edna Sutton at (802) 247-4295. All donations to CMAF are tax-deductible.
Adult ticket reservations can be made at Barn Opera’s website, barnopera.com, or at the Brown Paper Tickets website: brownpapertickets.com/event/4308909. Space permitted, some tickets may be available at the door.
To learn more about this event or Barn Opera, visit barnopera.com or contact Edna Sutton at [email protected] or at (802) 247-4295.

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