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Commentary

07 Nov 2018

Bampton Classical Opera to perform Gian Carlo Menotti's Amahl and the Night Visitors

Gian Carlo Menotti’s much-loved Christmas opera, Amahl and the Night Visitors was commissioned in America by the National Broadcasting Company and was broadcast in 1951 - the first-ever opera composed specifically for television. Menotti said that it “is an opera for children because it tries to recapture my own childhood”.

Bampton Classical Opera perform Menotti’s Amahl and the Night Visitors at St John’s Smith Square, London, and St Mary’s Church, Bampton.

 

Amahl, a poor widow’s son, who can only walk with the help of a crutch, is amazed one evening to see a huge star hovering over their house. Three regally dressed strangers arrive and seek shelter for the night. For Amahl, these wondrous events lead to a miraculous healing and his own long journey to follow the star.

Bampton Classical Opera , well known for their performances of rare eighteenth-century opera, bring this magical twentieth-century classic on Sunday December 16 to the annual St John’s Smith Square Christmas Festival (and also the St John’s ‘Americana’ Festival), in a new semi-staged production in costume especially aimed at families and children. This will be followed by another performance at St Mary’s Church, Bampton, Oxfordshire on 21 December, the annual St Beornwald’s Day concert in Bampton.

Emma Stannard - Head shot (1).jpgEmma Stannard.

The Mother is played by Emma Stannard, winner of the Bampton Classical Opera Young Singers’ Competition 2017, and the role of the boy Amahl is taken by 11-year-old Felix Gillingwater, chorister at Southwark Cathedral. The conductor is Anthony Kraus, formerly with Opera North, who is also one of the pianists in Menotti’s own exciting arrangement for two pianos. The second pianist is Keval Shah, who won the Accompanists’ Prize in the Bampton Classical Opera Young Singers’ Competition 2017, when he accompanied Emma Stannard.

St John’s Smith Square, London: 16 December 3pm

St Mary’s Church, Bampton, Oxfordshire: 21 December 7.30pm

Semi-staged production, performed in Menotti’s 2-piano version

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