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A 1958 pro­duction of “Amahl and the Night Vis­itors.” | Wiki­media Commons

The theatre department will perform a ren­dition of the classic Christmas operetta, “Amahl and the Night Vis­itors,” for their 26th annual Opera Workshop this weekend. Voice pro­fessor Melissa Osmand and piano instructor Debra Wyse are directing. 

“‘Amahl and the Night Vis­itors’ is very his­tor­i­cally sig­nif­icant,” junior cast member Gabriel Kramer said. “It was orig­i­nally written for a TV broadcast and has a cult fol­lowing which has helped it stand the test of time.” 

The operetta was orig­i­nally per­formed live on NBC in 1951 after the studio com­mis­sioned Italian-born Gian Carlo Menotti to write a Christmas-themed operetta for the station. It was the first opera written specif­i­cally for tele­vision in the United States. 

“The per­for­mance is Christmas themed this year so people can get into the Christmas season,” sophomore cast member Harvey Peters said. 

‘Amahl and the Night Vis­itors’ tells the story of a dis­abled boy and his mother, who are visited by the three Wise Men on their way to and from vis­iting the baby Jesus. 

“The whole per­for­mance will be very short at only around 45 minutes,” Kramer said. “I feel like this will bring a crowd because people don’t want to sit through a full length opera right before finals.” 

Each per­for­mance will be put on by a dif­ferent cast of stu­dents, allowing for dif­ferent takes on the classic operetta. As a result, the cast is larger than it has been in pre­vious years. 

“We’ve put in a lot of work and it will be an oppor­tunity for stu­dents to witness a 20th century operetta,” Peters said. “That oppor­tunity doesn’t show up much in rural Michigan.” 

The per­for­mance will be held on Thursday and Friday at 7:30 p.m. and Sat­urday at 2:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. in McNamara Recital Hall.