Review: Amahl and the Night Visitors, by Operamus, at Quaker Meeting House, Bournville
Menotti’s Amahl and the Night Visitors is a gem originally commissioned for television in 1951, soon becoming a Christmas classic, but now far too rarely presented.
Saturday’s performance was very much a local community creation for an enchanted family audience. A short time with minimal rehearsal produced a captivating magical hour.
The undoubted star was 11-year-old Protik Moulik as Amahl. Here is a multi-gifted real musician with a fine singing voice and truly convincing acting talents, even to the point of accurately miming his shepherd’s pipe to an intricate orchestral oboe solo.
Good acoustics enhanced sensitive playing from the orchestra of recent graduates under Daniele Rosina’s discreet baton. Balance was excellent as care was taken, particularly by soprano Suzanna Purkis. As Amahl’s mother she was dramatic, powerful and deeply moving, her clear text carrying the drama with subtle flow.
Mitesh Khatri gave an amusing image of Kaspar whilst young Protik rose to the challenge of the three adult voices, never forcing his lovely soprano but delivering his words with conviction.
Operamus were responsible for lovely snippets of chorus. A particularly heart-wrenching duo from solo violin and cello added to the charm of Menotti’s accessible score setting the scene as small children (four years upwards) were dancing shepherds, joining in with excitement and enjoyment.
This simple depiction of an age-old story was a triumph, winning smiles and moist eyes all round, a truly exceptional performance.