No Strings Theatre Presents A No Strings Theatre Holiday Festival at Artscape Wychwood Barns
Wychwood Heights – No Strings Theatre presents its Holiday Festival, featuring Amahl and the Night Visitors, a concert version of the beloved one-act holiday opera composed by Gian Carlo Menotti. As well, a lineup of gifted singers and musicians performs holiday favorites with a live band.
There will be two performances only: Sunday, December 20, at 3:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. at the Wychwood Barns, 601 Christie Street. Tickets, $25; $20 seniors and students; $15 children 12 and under, are available by calling 416-551-2093, visiting www.nostringstheatre.com or e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Info is also available from the same sources.
Amahl and the Night Visitors tells the story of a poor widow and her spirited son, Amahl, who receive an astonishing visit from three Kings looking for shelter as they cross the desert in pursuit of a marvellous star. From the Mother, relentlessly severe, to the Kings, darkly ominous or delightfully quirky, the story unfolds as through the wonder in a child’s eyes.
No Strings Theatre’s production of Amahl and the Night Visitors is directed by Denise Williams. It features a cast of celebrated singers including Will Trigo-Ebere in the title role; Denise Williams, Erin Cunningham, Mikhail Bukhman, Kurtis Whittle, Norman Brown, Lawrence Cotton, George Ossipov, Andrew Tam and Ron Jewel, led by renowned music director William Shookhoff.
The performance of Amahl and the Night Visitors will be followed by a concert showcasing jazz and gospel, international opera professionals, and up-and-coming musical theatre artists – including singer, songwriter and actor Kate Suhr, and jazz gospel veteran Nicole Brooks, creator and composer of Obeah Opera.
WILL TRIGO EBERE is a passionate 12-year-old opera singer who has had a very exciting start to his career. Will has performed in La Bohème and in the Canadian premiere of Jakobin with Opera By Request. He has twice performed with The Tenors, most recently on their PBS special. Will has had many firsts this year, including his international debut with the award-winning Langsford Men’s Chorus spring tour. He was featured on CBC Radio 1 and Radio-Canada, sharing his love and success with his opera career. He will be travelling to the 2016 Edinburgh Fringe Festival, playing the lead role of Pepicek in Hans Krasa’s Brundibar. (See Will and Denise in Amahl in 2015.)
WILLIAM SHOOKHOFF is highly regarded as a conductor, pianist and vocal coach throughout Canada and abroad. He has conducted Canadian orchestras from coast to coast, as well as in The Netherlands and China. He has served on the music faculties of the universities of Toronto and Alberta, and at Wilfrid Laurier, as well as the Banff Centre for the Arts and the Johannesen Summer Institute of Music. Equally at home in music theatre, Mr. Shookhoff was the associate conductor of the inaugural Canadian production of Les Misérables, and of the Canadian tour and Toronto productions of Phantom of the Opera. He has been a guest music director with Neptune Theatre (Halifax), Persephone Theatre (Saskatoon), and Citadel Theatre (Edmonton).
NO STRINGS THEATRE is a registered charitable organization providing professional-level music theatre training in a creative, supportive environment for youth aged 13 to 21. The No Strings signature program is a Summer Intensive, in which students spend up to five weeks working with experienced staff drawn from the theatre industry, preparing for the performance of a full-scale musical, which is then presented and staged in a professional theatre.
AMAHL AND THE NIGHT VISITORS, by Italian-American composer and librettist Gian Carlo Menotti (1911–2007), was first performed by the NBC Opera Theater in New York City on Christmas Eve 1951 and broadcast live from Rockefeller Center. It was the first opera written to be performed on television. Menotti was inspired by the 16th-century painting The Adoration of the Magi (Hieronymus Bosch), which reminded him of his childhood in Italy, where tradition had it that the Three Kings, and not Santa Claus, brought children their Christmas gifts. An estimated five million people watched the first live broadcast.
DIRECTOR’S COMMENTS: I remember, as a child, peering into the windows of major department stores during the holiday season, thinking that I had an actual view of Santa’s workshop, with the elves at the North Pole. From there, my imagination would take me through all their preparations for the toys, the lists, the ride around the world, and so on. Similarly, I view our portrayal of the story today as imagined through the eyes of a child. Our “in concert” presentation, simple, with a few added visual touches, is designed to invite both the performers and the audience to bring the story to full life in their own imaginations. (Denise Williams)
Sunday, December 20, 2015, 3:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.
Artscape Wychwood Barns, 601 Christie St. (south of St. Clair Ave. W.)
Tickets: Adults $25; Seniors/Students $20; Children $15; Group of 5 $100; Group rate $15 (10 or more)
For tickets and info, call 416-551-2093