Theater department to start holidays with biblical opera

College theater to produce 'Amahl and the Night Visitors'

Jennifer Stogsdill

"Amahl and the Night Visitors" will be visiting the Laramie County Community College Playhouse in time for the beginning of the holiday season, Thursday-Sunday on Dec. 1, 2, 3 and 4.

Nancy Cornish, LCCC choir director, explained this 45-minute opera in English is set 2000 years ago and tells the story of a poor woman (who will be played by Darcy Guille) and her crippled child, Amahl (who will be played by Liam Guille). The two embark on a journey to find a child king, and on their way they are visited by three kings.

The shepherds and shepherdesses in the village come to bring food and dance for the kings. As they rest, the woman tries stealing some gold from the kings. "You'll have to come to see what happens next though," Cornish said.

A majority of the performers are from the music department of LCCC, and all the shepherds and shepherdesses are members of the choirs. "This opera gives our students a chance to sing much more difficult music than is found in musicals," Cornish explained.

"This opera was chosen because it is a wonderful, uplifting Christmas story all put to music by the famous composer Gian Carlo Menotti. He was commissioned to write this opera to be aired on television for the Hallmark Hall of Fame in the 1950s. It was so well-received, they ran it every year for 15 years. It is a heart-warming story with lots of action and a wide variety of characters," Cornish said.

Cornish explained LCCC has performed this opera two years ago in 2008 and 2009 and was brought back by popular demand because it is a beautiful, standard Christmas show.

Cornish said, "The audience can expect to hear beautiful singing, see folk-style dancing, see a variety of costumes and enjoy the story of the three kings and their visit to this little family on their journey to find the Christ Child."

Cornish also takes the opera to public schools in the area. "It is only 45 minutes long, and it gives elementary school children a great introduction to the world of opera," she said.

Admission is $5. The Thursday, Friday and Saturday performances will be at 7 p.m. and Sunday's performance will be at 3 p.m. in the LCCC Playhouse. You can make reservations at boxoffice@lccc.wy.edu.