The Department of Parks, Recreation, and Community Facilities will host the beloved children’s opera “Amahl and the Night Visitors” on Sunday, December 8 at 4 p.m. at the Landmark Theater located at 6 North Laurel Street.
One of Richmond’s longest running traditions; the Department has offered free performances of this opera since the 1960s. Pegged as the unofficial kick-off to the holiday festivities in the Richmond area, “Amahl and the Night Visitors” is perhaps the most recognized holiday opera experience for children of all ages. “This outstanding production exposes youngsters and adults to the medium of opera and brings together diverse communities to share in a common holiday tradition,” says Dr. Norman C. Merrifield, director of Richmond’s Department of Parks, Recreation, and Community Facilities.
The opera was written in 1951 by Gian-Carlo Menotti and focuses on Amahl, a young peasant shepherd boy with a talent for embellishing fact with a varnish of fantasy. As the opera opens, Amahl is very excited because he has seen a truly strange and wondrous star outside, one with a long tail the likes of which he has never seen. His Mother dismisses his news, but a knock on their door reveals three kings who are following that very star. The story unfolds as shepherds come from far and near to observe the visitors, and ultimately leads to the magic of a Christmas miracle.
Staging director George C. Macklin, Jr. will be retiring after a 49-year affiliation with the production, having started as King Balthazar before taking over the director’s chair. He is joined by assistant director Charmaine McGilvary and music director Diana Covington Greer. Principal cast members include Matthew Barbieri as Amahl, Bekah Hughes Davis as his Mother, J. David Clatterbuck, Raymond Elmore, and Ben Miller as the Kings Kaspar, Balthazar, and Melchior respectively, and Stanley Fountain as the Page.
This event is free to the public. Doors will open at 3:30 p.m. and no reservations are necessary. For more information, please call (804) 646-1031.