STONINGTON — Stonington resident Cate Statchen will play the role of Amahl in next week’s local production of Gian Carlo Menotti’s “Amahl and the Night Visitors” at United Church of Stonington.

The opera, written and first performed in 1951, is considered to be the first opera ever composed for television. It tells the story of the Magi from the point of view of a young, poor, disabled boy named Amahl, who lives with his widowed mother near Bethlehem. The royal visitors arrive at their door looking for hospitality and directions on their way to visit the Christ Child, and the incident sparks quite a lot of comedy, some conflict, and in the end, a small miracle.

Under the direction of Dara Blackstone-Hayashi, the performance will feature internationally recognized opera singers in the role of the three wise men. Jurate Svedaite Waller will play the Mother, Daniel Juarez will be Kasper, Maksim Ivanov is Melchior and Kofi Heyford will be Balthazar.

Elena Zamolodchikova will play piano, and choral singers who have previously sung under the baton of Blackstone-Hayashi in such groups as OBesa Cantavit, Connecticut Lyric Opera Chorus, Griswold Players Community Chorus, United Church of Stonington or Ad Hoc Carolers will participate in the opera, along with singers from her annual 9/11 Requiem Workshop.

As the shepherds dance for the Kings, audience members will be asked to participate by bringing offerings of non-perishable food items for local food pantries to help replenish their shelves after the busy holiday season.

“To have people from so many choirs and my professional colleagues coming together as a show of unity, to deliver the all-important message of the first made-for-TV opera, is a wondrous gift,” said Blackstone-Hayashi.

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