Menotti’s "Amahl and the Night Visitors" at DSE Holiday Family Concert

December 6th, 2011

Concert report by Mimi Stillman

This past Sunday, December 4, Dolce Suono Ensemble gave an exciting concert featuring Gian Carlo Menotti’s Amahl and the Night Visitors, which was the centerpiece of our first Holiday Family Concert. We co-presented Menotti’s Christmas opera with Choral Arts Philadelphia, conducted by Matthew Glandorf, and First Baptist Church, with music director and organist Alan Morrison. The program also included Vaughan Williams’s Fantasia on Christmas Carols, in which DSE accompanied the chorus, and music from the Jewish tradition: two trio sonatas by the Judeo-Baroque composer Salamone Rossi and a set of Traditional Jewish Songs.

We were pleased to do the Philadelphia revival of Menotti’s Amahl and the Night Visitors, a work with strong historic ties to Philadelphia, during the composer’s centennial year and the 60th anniversary of the opera. First Baptist Church was the first venue where the work was performed live after the live television broadcasts, which premiered in 1951. It was also personally thrilling to be reunited with my friends and fellow Curtis alumni Alan Morrison and Matthew Glandorf, who presented the most recent Philadelphia performances in the 1990s, in which I performed as flutist.

We were delighted by the enthusiastic response from the packed house. After the concert, it was touching to hear so many people talk about their memories of seeing Amahl broadcast on TV while they were growing up, and what a profound love they have for this opera. They expressed their wish that Amahl become an annual tradition!
A hearty congratulations to the wonderful cast of Amahl:

Troy Larsen……………..Amahl
Rebecca Carr…………..The Mother
Siddhartha Misra………Kaspar
Brian Ming Chu………..Melchior
Reginald Pindell………..Balthasar
Chris Hodges…………..Page

Dancers: Lisa Lovelace and Gretchen Studlien-Webb
Choreographers: Lisa Lovelace and Melinda Tatum Kaiser

Choral Arts Philadelphia sounded fantastic as the Shepherds and in the Vaughan Williams, and Matthew Glandorf did a tremendous job as conductor and choral director.

Bernard Kunkel was Choral Arts Philadelphia Accompanist and Off Stage Choral Conductor. Terrific costumer Val Starr outfitted the cast.
Dolce Suono Ensemble artists in this concert:
Mimi Stillman, flute
Geoffrey Deemer and Samuel Nemec, oboes
Doris Hall-Gulati, clarinet
Michelle Rosen, bassoon
Shelley Showers, horn
Marc Rovetti and William Polk, violins
Che-Hung Chen, viola
Yumi Kendall, cello
Rob Kesselman, bass
Alan Morrison, piano (and lighting)
Gabriel Globus-Hoenich, percussion

Here are photos from the show.

Rebecca Carr as The Mother sings duet with Troy Larsen as Amahl
The Three Kings arrive bearing gifts
Left to right: Reginald Pindell as Balthasar, Brian Ming Chu as Melchior, Siddhartha Misra as Kaspar
The ensemble
He walks!
Amahl and his Mother embrace before he leaves with the Three Kings
to present his crutch as a gift to the child
Curtain call
Photo credit: Ralph Rosen