Posted at 9:20 p.m., Dec. 2, 2011

'Amahl' opera does not hit all notes correctly

The story of the Three Wise Men is one that has been told, and heard, many times. But "Amahl and the Night Visitors" tells a different section of the story in opera form. What if the wise men made a pit stop? For those wondering, congratulations, I'm about to tell you.

First, just I say that this is no "The Producers." It's a small production that plays more like a scenario than an actual story. The Laramie County Community College music department's production debuted Dec. 1 and runs through a 3 p.m. matinee on Sunday.

The play involves a child, Amahl (Paige Guille), and a Mother (Darcy Guille) having an encounter with the Three Wise Men (Scott Zlomke, Alex Cowan and James Miller) accompanied by their page (Connagher Stumpff). That's pretty much the story.

My problem is not with the story, though, it was what it was. My problem was with all the tiny little details. For starters, the character of Amahl was referred to as a boy, yet she was played by a girl. Really? It's a small but very noticeable problem that must be changed if just out of respect for the girl who has to be called a boy.

Then, there was a small issue with the hair on the mother and Amahl; it's too…pretty. They were playing peasants. Mess it up, throw some dirt in there, and let the peasant flag fly.

Another problem was with some of the singers. Some were very good, especially Darcy Guille. But you could tell either some weren't cut out for an opera or they just weren't giving their all. Either way, they were out-sung by those around them, and it was sort of hard to hear them.

Finally, there were the shepherds. Most of them still seem to be in rehearsal mode, as they were constantly looking at their feet while dancing, laughing and mouthing things to one another. It looked like fun but was something that took me out of the experience.

Now the good stuff. The opera was, in some scenes, quite funny. There were lines that were very well hit by the Paige Guille as Amahl as well as other members of the cast. Unfortunately, the humor was scarce, and the opera could have benefitted from more.

So, keeping in mind that this is not a professional production, it isn't half-bad. There are some fixable missteps. A lot more attention should have been spent on the detail of it all as it can make or break any production.

One word of advice to all the budding performers: Remember, sometimes the faces you think your making and the voices you think your hearing can come off completely different to the audience.

Even if you think you sound good, go bigger; it's an opera. Be big and bold. And for the faces, if you think you may look one way, just know you can't see yourself, and we can.


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