USD Opera presents ‘Amahl and the Night Visitors’

VERMILLION, S.D. -- The University of South Dakota Music Department will present the classic Menotti opera, “Amahl and the Night Visitors,” with two performances in December, including Saturday, Dec. 5 at 7:30 p.m. at the Akron Opera House in Akron, Iowa, and on Friday, Dec. 11 at 7:30 p.m. at USD’s Colton Recital Hall.

A Christmas story, the opera features a poor widow and her crippled son as they become unlikely hosts to the Three Kings on their journey to see the “Child.” “Amahl and the Night Visitors” has been performed widely throughout the U.S. and the world during the Christmas season since its premier in 1951. The USD production is an hour long, one-act opera performed in English.

Performers include USD students and faculty and members of the surrounding community in the spirit of creating an annual holiday tradition. Cast members are USD senior Halie Limoges of Canton, S.D., as Amahl; Dr. Tracelyn Gesteland, D.M.A., assistant professor of voice at USD, as The Mother; Jon Brown, a senior from Rapid City, S.D., as King Kaspar; graduate student William Darwin of Sioux City, Iowa, as King Melchior; Anthony Hunt, a senior from Pierre, S.D., as King Balthazar; and freshman Cody Perk of Yankton, S.D., as The Page.

Angelica Elwell, Avalon Kann and Sara Otteman are dancers for the production while chorus members include Laura Bertschinger, Megan Donohoo, Kristin Edwards, Tom Emanuel, Mary Green Vickrey, Clint Johnson, Ashley Keyes, Solveig Korte, Ryan Landis, Sarah Marsolek, Ashley Evelyn Mazur, Philip Munkvold, Devin Patrick, Cody Perk, Tucker Ramhorst, Amanda Rich, Walker Rose, Jennirae Sullivan and Kendra Van Nyhuis.

Stage and music director for “Amahl and the Night Visitors” is Gesteland. Rick Piersall, A.B.D., assistant professor of voice, serves as technical director, and Patricia Downey, A.B.D., director of musical theatre at USD, is choreographer. Pianist is Parker Knox while Donohoo is stage manager and Van Nyhuis is the off-stage chorus conductor.

Tickets for the Akron production are available at the Akron Opera House at (712) 568-8747 or at the door the day of the performance. A Christmas reception will follow at the Akron Museum immediately after the Dec. 5 performance. For Colton Recital Hall, which is located at the Warren M. Lee Center for the Fine Arts, tickets are only available at the door. For more information, please contact Tracelyn.Gesteland@usd.edu.