“Amahl and the Night Visitors” revival press release
ON SITE OPERA BRINGS A HOLIDAY CLASSIC BACK TO A NEW YORK CITY SOUP KITCHEN WITH A CHOIR OF FORMERLY HOMELESS TO PUT HUMANITY, FAITH AND GRACE CENTERSTAGE
Amahl and the Night Visitors Shines a Light on Homelessness while Connecting Communities to Reveal the Real Reason for the Season
NEW YORK, October 1, 2019 – On Site Opera, an organization dedicated to presenting site-specific opera productions in non-traditional venues throughout New York City, will present the return of Gian Carlo Menotti’s perennial one act opera Amahl and the Night Visitors at Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen December 4-8, following its critically acclaimed run in 2018. A holiday opera for all ages, the production will be presented in partnership with Breaking Ground, New York’s largest provider of permanent supportive housing for homeless, conducted by OSO Music Director Geoffrey McDonald, directed by OSO General & Artistic Director Eric Einhorn, and choreographed by Winston Benons, Jr. With a dynamic ensemble of professional singers that include Devin Zamir Coleman, Benjamin Barham-Wiese, Aundi Moore, Musa Ngqungwana, Daniel Belcher, Joshua Jeremiah, Jonathan R. Green and Julius Ahn; and joined by the American Modern Ensemble, a community choir of members who have experienced homlessness firsthand will sing beside them.
With themes of humility, generosity, love, community and faith, Amahl and the Night Visitors is inspired by Bosh’s The Adoration of the Magi; a timeless fable that originally premiered on a live television broadcast in 1951. The opera is a retelling of the story of the Magi from the point of view of a young disabled boy named Amahl, who lives with his widowed mother in poverty among the shepherds near Bethlehem. One night, three kings stop for shelter at their humble dwelling, having traveled from far following a wondrous star after the birth of Christ, with treasures for the newborn. As the story unfolds, Amahl’s mother commits a great act of transgression in desperation, and the true miracle and meaning of life are revealed. In On Site Opera’s contemporary and reimagined production, the Three Kings are homeless men seeking shelter in the same soup kitchen in which Amahl and his Mother are taking refuge. The Shepherd Chorus is comprised of community members from the Breaking Ground tenant community, and the staging is done to surround the audience, adding to the production’s immersive nature.
“This production explores the depth of impact that opera can truly have,” explains Einhorn. “Each artistic and collaborative decision was made in such a way so as to support the fundamental themes and story of the opera while creating a production of real power and social impact,” he continues. “We are thrilled to be able to revive it this year to provide New Yorkers with a holiday offering to highlight the real reason for the season.”
As homelessness in New York City has reached the highest levels since the Great Depression of the 1930’s, the production creates a greater sense of empathy between audiences and performers. While many who are touched by homelessness are often marginalized, the production does a small yet impactful part in bringing everyone closer to recognize a shared humanity, and the capability to always be kind, regardless of socio-economic status.
All patrons of Amahl and the Night Visitors are asked to bring a donation of non-perishable food items for the Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen to help further their work and community support.
This production is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. Additional support by Mark and Lorry Newhouse.
SCHEDULE AND TICKET INFORMATION
Amahl and the Night Visitors will be performed:
Wednesday, December 4 at 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, December 5 at 7:30 p.m.
Friday, December 6 at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, December 7 at 2:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m.
Sunday, December 8 at 6:00 p.m.
General admission tickets are $40, available on October 15, and $25 standing room, available on
November 21 at https://osopera.org/productions/amahl2019/
Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen is located at 296 9th Avenue in the landmark Church of Holy Apostles in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan. The Soup Kitchen is accessible by the 1, C and E trains, and blocks away from both Penn Station and Port Authority Bus Terminal.
Amahl and the Night Visitors
Composed by Gian Carlo Menotti
Libretto by Gian Carlo Menotti
Conducted by Geoffrey McDonald
Directed by Eric Einhorn
Choreography by Winston Benons, Jr.
Lighting Design by Shawn K. Kaufman of Enlumen
Costumes by Jessica Jahn
Prop design by Syndey Schatz
Hair and Make-Up by Gabrielle Vincent
Stage Manager: Lauren Moriah Stern
Orchestra: American Modern Ensemble
Amahl (Dec 4,6,7 Eve): Devin Zamir Coleman
Amahl (Dec 5, 7 Mat, 8): Benjamin Barham-Wiese
Mother: Aundi Marie Moore
Kaspar: Julius Ahn
Melchoir (Dec 5, 6, 7 Eve, 8): Daniel Belcher
Melchoir (Dec 4, 7 Mat): Joshua Jeremiah
Balthazar: Musa Ngqungwana
The Page: Jonathan R. Green
After last season’s critically acclaimed run, On Site Opera is proud announce the return of its production of the holiday classic, Amahl and the Night Visitors, in a modern production that connects this timeless story of charity and miracles with the prevalent issue of homelessness in NYC. Presented at Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen, and in partnership with Breaking Ground, New York City’s largest provider of permanent supportive housing for the homeless, performances will feature a chorus made up of community members who have experienced homelessness performing alongside renowned opera soloists and musicians. With this collaboration, On Site Opera, Breaking Ground, and the Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen hope to shine a light on the issue of homeless in New York City, and share how the arts and social services can work together to benefit our community.
ABOUT ON SITE OPERA
On Site Opera produces site-specific operas in non-traditional venues throughout New York City (and beyond!). By staging each opera in an environment specific to the piece, OSO surrounds the audience and artists in the music and drama of the story, amplifying the connection between the world of the opera and the reality of the audience. To date, OSO has produced operas in more than a dozen unique venues, including Shostakovich’s The Tale of The Silly Baby Mouse using large-scale puppets in performances for families at the Bronx Zoo; Gershwin’s Blue Monday in the historic Cotton Club of Harlem; and Rameau’s Pygmalion in Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum which explored new technology in opera through the use of Google Glass supertitles. To date, On Site Opera has produced 17 operas in as many locations, re-introducing New Yorkers to their city by way of opera.
ABOUT BREAKING GROUND
Breaking Ground is New York City’s largest provider and developer of permanent supportive housing, and a leader in developing targeted solutions to homelessness. With 24 transitional and permanent residences under management, primarily in New York City, Breaking Ground provides safe, stable, beautiful housing for those who need it most. Breaking Ground also runs, under contract with the Department of Homeless Services, street homeless outreach in all of Brooklyn, Queens, and a portion of Manhattan. Since 1990, Breaking Ground has helped more than 14,000 people escape and avoid homelessness.
ABOUT HOLY APOSTLES SOUP KITCHEN
Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen is the largest soup kitchen in New York and has been a symbol of hope and compassion in the Chelsea section of Manhattan since 1982. Every weekday about 1,000 nourishing meals are served to hungry and homeless New Yorkers who dine in the beautiful sanctuary of the landmark Holy Apostles Church. The mission of Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen is to feed the hungry, comfort the afflicted, seek justice for the homeless, and provide a sense of hope and opportunity to those in need.