Stephen F. Austin State University

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SFA to present 'Amahl and the Night Visitors'

December 26, 2008 - Sylvia Bierschenk
SFA Madrigal Singers and Opera Workshop performing Gian Carlo Menotti's "Amahl and the Night Visitors."

NACOGDOCHES, TEXAS - The SFA Madrigal Singers and Opera Workshop will present Gian Carlo Menotti's "Amahl and the Night Visitors," at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 3, and 4 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 4, at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Nacogdoches.

The one-act opera, written in English, tells the story of Amahl, a poor, crippled shepherd boy, and his mother who are visited by the Three Kings during their journey to the Christ Child. Since it was first produced for television in 1951, the opera has become a Christmas classic that is produced in communities throughout the United States.

"The music is gorgeous and the story and text are rich in meaning," said Dr. Deborah Dalton, SFA associate professor of voice and the production's director. "The entire family will enjoy this less-than-an-hour-long production."

Saturday's performance will feature Nick Shofner, son of Charles and Kristi Shofner of Nacogdoches, as Amahl. Cameron LaGraff, son of Scott and Kimberly LaGraff of Nacogdoches, will sing the part on Sunday.

LaDonna Jackson, Friendswood senior, will sing the role of the mother. Singing the parts of the Three Kings will be Waco juniors Garry Leonberger and Patrick Wright and Carthage senior Bradley Lassiter. San Antonio senior Adam Zuñiga will portray the page.

Admission to both performances is free, but donations will be accepted. All proceeds will benefit the SFA A Cappella Choir's May tour to Italy that includes six concerts in 10 days.

A Cappella Choir director Dr. Tim King explained that the tour is a result of an invitation the choir received to participate in the International Choral Festival in Marostica (outside of Venice). The 55-member choir will also be performing in San Marco Basilica in Venice, Santa Maria Maggiore in Florence and St. Peter's Basilica in Rome.

"A trip such as this is literally a life-changing experience for our students," King said. "Many of them will not have the opportunity to see these historically significant places again."

"Amahl and the Night Visitors" is a joint presentation of the SFA College of Fine Arts and the School of Music. For more information, please call (936) 569-6690.