The Minot Symphony Orchestra and the Western Plains Opera will present the work of Gian Carlo Menotti “Amahl and the night visitors”, Saturday, December 11 at 7:30 p.m. at Ann Nicole Nelson Hall on the campus of Minot State University.
Menotti was inspired by the Dutch artist, the oil painting by Hieronymus Bosch in 1475, “The Adoration of the Magi”, when he brought back the Italian childhood memories of Menotti, where gifts are given to enthusiastic children not by Santa Claus, but by the three kings. Menotti wrote the opera to unfold through the eyes of a child. In this short one-act story, poor crippled child Amahl and his mother open their home to three traveling wise men to present their gifts to baby Jesus and Amahl receives a very special gift.
The Minot Symphony Orchestra is a mix of student, community and professional musicians from the Minot region. The musical director is Maestro EfraÃn Amaya, associate professor of music at Minot State University, who will be joined by his colleague Cheryl Nilsen, professor of mathematics education, as director. The production will include students, professors and alumni of Minot State University, as well as members of the Minot High School choir, conducted by Lindsay Kerzmann, and students of the Rinat Mouzafarov dance and ballet theater. .
The role of Amahl will be played by Megan Klebe, from Minot. Klebe is a senior at Minot State University studying music education with a double major in voice and trumpet. His debut with Western Plains Opera was as Dew Fairy in Hansel in Gretel in 2019.
âI am truly honored and humbled to have the chance to bring young Amahl to life for the Minot audience. I hope you understand Amahl’s endless curiosity and wonder as well as her fierce loyalty and love for her mother with my performance. I hope you will fall in love with this opera as much as I do! said KlÃ©bÃ©.
In her Minot debut, Amahl’s mother will be sung by Pittsburgh soprano Raquel Winnica Young. Hailed by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette as “Beautifully expressed singer-actor”, and by the American Record Guide as mezzo-soprano of “Magnificent expressive song”, Raquel Winnica Young was a finalist in the Vocal Art Song Discovery Series DC, two-time winner of the Pittsburgh Concert Society Major Artist Competition and finalist for the American Prize in Art Song and Oratorio. Winnica Young is an adjunct faculty member at Indiana University in Pennsylvania, where she teaches applied voice, vocal repertoire, and literature.
Baritone Philip Zawisza returns to the Magic City as King Melchior. Zawisza joined the MSO for excerpts from Amaya’s opera from “Lilian and LÃ©o” and “Ghismunda and Guiscardo” as well as that of Carl Orff “Carmina Burana.” Philip’s performance in the title role of Figaro in Rossini will also be remembered by Minot audiences. “Barber of Seville” with the Western Plains Opera in 2018.
King Kaspar will be played by Ken Bowles, tenor, professor emeritus, who was director of choral activities and vocal teacher at MSU from 1993 to 2016, president of the Music Division for the last eight years of his academic career and director. General of Western OpÃ©ra des Plaines from 1995 to 2015. A frequent contributor as a performer and conductor in Western Plains Opera productions over the years, Bowles returns to the role of Kaspar which he first played with MSO and WPO over 25 years ago.
Eric Furuseth, Coordinator, Humanities Program, Associate Professor of English at MSU, has been performing with Western Plains Opera since 1985 in several leading roles and countless supporting roles will play the role of King Balthazar. Furuseth is very active with the Minot Chamber Choir, performing as “Lord of the Manor” for the Renaissance Festival for more than 20 years. Furuseth has also performed in numerous musical presentations with the MSU Summer Theater, The Mouse River Players, The Heritage Singers, as well as several solo performances.
The role of Page Kings will be sung by MSU alumnus Erik M. Anderson, baritone. Anderson has appeared in six Western Plains Opera productions, including the roles of Marullo in Rigoletto and Morpheus in Orpheus in the Underworld. He has also been a featured soloist with Minot Chamber Chorale and MSU Concert Choir.
Tickets start at $ 25 for adults with discounts for seniors and students available. Tickets are available at www.minotsymphony.com or at the box office at 701-858-4228. Customers are encouraged to purchase their tickets in advance.
The Minot Symphony Orchestra will follow current COVID-19 guidelines as mandated by Minot State University. Social distancing and masks are not mandatory at this time. This is subject to change depending on the progress of the COVID-19 pandemic. For customers who are not comfortable attending a live show or who cannot travel, the shows will also be available via the live broadcast. Advance tickets are available on the symphony website.
This project is supported in part by a grant from the North Dakota Council on the Arts, which receives funding from the state legislature and the National Endowment for the Arts.