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Amahl & the Night Visitors
Ogden, Utah
Sunday, 8 December 2019 - 4:30 PM
Presenter: NEXT Ensemble
It’s around the time of the holidays that family traditions are foremost in many people’s minds. Tradition is utterly nostalgic and even defiant: it is a way of defeating the incessant and unrelenting march of time by eating the same things, singing the same songs, decorating the same way, year after year. Keeping traditions is a means of stopping the world from spinning, just for a bit, allowing us pause to enjoy life and our loved ones.

Here in Ogden, NEXT Ensemble aims to revive a holiday tradition: the performance of Amahl and the Night Visitors by Gian Carlo Menotti. Amahl was broadcast on the NBC network on or around Christmas Eve from 1951 to 1966 and, during that hour, families would gather around the television to enjoy the retelling of the nativity story from a wholly original perspective. The title character Amahl and his mother are desperately poor, yet open their home for a night to three kings traveling to see the Christ child. They (and the kings) learn a valuable lesson about wealth and gift-giving in the process.

Amahl is a fully-acted out stage work in English that contains music for solo singers, orchestra, and choir. All of the dialogue is sung, which technically makes Amahl an opera, but, unlike any opera before it, it is one originally written for television (and as such is widely accessible by children and adults alike). NEXT Ensemble’s presentation of Amahl retains this accessibility and adds to it the thrill of being in the same room with live performers. Children are absolutely welcome at our performance, and afterwards they might be interested in checking out another Ogden tradition: the Christmas Village. We do hope to see you there.
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