The Music Ministry
Amahl and the Night Visitors
music director Louise Avant and stage director Cathy Jones
featuring Karlten Friedrich, Sarah Zeringue, Brett Barnes, John Raff, and Arturo Rodriguez
December 10 - 18, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m., Sundays at 2:30 p.m.
First Baptist Church, 901 Trinity Street (click for map)
Admission to all performances is free, but donations are appreciated. Paid parking is available in FBC’s garage, entering on Trinity Street, and metered parking is offered on the street around the church. Please call First Baptist Church at 512-476-2625 for more information.
First Baptist Church of Austin Music Ministry will present Gian Carlo Menotti’s 1951 classic holiday operetta Amahl and the Night Visitors starting Saturday, December 10th and running through Sunday, December 18th, at First Baptist Church of Austin, 901 Trinity Street.
One of the most popular operettas of all time, Menotti’s one-act masterpiece was the first opera specifically composed for television in America. The Italian-American composer and librettist wrote Amahl and the Night Visitors using memories from his childhood. He wrote about two dozen other operas and won the Pulitzer Prize for two of them, The Consul in 1950 and The Saint of Bleecker Street in 1955.
This lighthearted and entertaining holiday production tells the story of a disabled, young shepherd boy named “Amahl” who lives alone with his mother on the outskirts of Bethlehem. The Three Kings, who are traveling to see the Christ child, stop at Amahl’s home and ask for food and shelter. As the poor family has nothing to share with the kings, Amahl calls the other shepherds together to feed and entertain the noble visitors. Struggling with poverty, Amahl’s mother decides to steal some of the gold the Kings are planning to give “the child.” She is caught and the tale unfolds.
A magical and musical treat for families and people of all ages, FBC’s Amahl and the Night Visitors will feature Karlten Friedrich as “Amahl,” Sarah Zeringue as the mother, and Brett Barnes, John Raff, and Arturo Rodriguez singing the roles of the Three Kings. The parts of the shepherds will be sung by members from FBC’s Youth, Sanctuary and Cantamos Choirs.
The performances will be held in the church sanctuary on a large raked stage which will provide audiences with the finest viewing opportunities. Featured singers will be accompanied by a small combo of piano, harp, two oboes, a flute, piccolo, and percussion instruments.
Music Director Louise Kemp Avant said the staged operetta has a wonderful message. “It is a heart-warming story of the resiliency of the human spirit, redemption, forgiveness, and God’s great love for humankind.”
Avant, a native Austinite, has been the Minister of Music at First Baptist Church of Austin for 17 years, after serving in Methodist and Presbyterian congregations in the city. She holds a Bachelors Degree in Music Education and a Masters in Choral Conducting from the University of Texas. Avant is an active singer with UT’s Choral Arts Society. First Baptist Church has a comprehensive graded choir program for children ages three to 18 as well as three adult choirs, a Handbells ensemble, and a women’s ensemble, Cantamos, who sing for groups around the Austin area.
Stage Director is Cathy Jones, a veteran theatre director. Cathy organized and directed FBC’s "Angels Over Austin" posada at Christmastime for a number of years and has also directed "J.B.", "Incident at Vichy", "Inherit the Wind", "Joseph and His Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat", "The Fantasticks", and "Steel Magnolias" with Trinity Street Players.