UNL Opera once again performs Amahl for LPS fifth graders

Amahl and the Night Visitors
Amahl and the Night Visitors

UNL Opera once again performs Amahl for LPS fifth graders

calendar icon05 Dec 2017    

Fifteen years ago, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Glenn Korff School of Music began a holiday tradition – Amahl and the Night Visitors. The tradition continues this week when UNL Opera presents the opera in the studio theatre of the Temple Building on campus. 

“It is a great introduction to opera: The show runs at under an hour; it is in understandable English; the story is easy to grasp; the music is tuneful and accessible,” said Director of UNL Opera William Shomos. 

“Even though the opera is richly and deeply rooted in the Biblical Christmas Story, the piece has a universal message promoting kindness and generosity as valuable human qualities. In a world that is becoming increasingly coarser and meaner, Amahl and the Night Visitors endures as an uplifting opera that encourages selflessness among human beings and advances the message that “it is better to give than to receive.” 

Shomos sees Amahl and the Night Visitors serving as a perfect vehicle for outreach -- a way that UNL Opera can “give back” to the community in a meaningful way. 

Since the project’s inception, it has targeted fifth graders from Title 1 schools in Lincoln Public Schools. So there will be performances on Thursday and Friday. 

“If we had the resources, we’d do it for all LPS fifth graders, but we decided to target those communities that are not as likely to have the means to have access to live opera,” Shomos said. “That age range has proven to be very receptive to this opera, perhaps, in part, because the protagonist (Amahl) is a young boy their own age, who faces adversity that he must overcome.” 

The cast is made up of students from the Glenn Korff School of Music while the Shepherd’s Chorus is made up of students from UNL but also from LPS High Schools, this year it includes Lincoln Northeast, North Star and Lincoln Southwest. 

“Since the inception of the project, we have collaborated each year with LPS high schools,” Shomos said. “On a rotating basis, choir directors from the six high schools supply the shepherd’s chorus.” 

There will also be two performances that are free and open to the public. They will both be on Saturday, December 9 at 1:30 and 3:00. Reservations are encouraged:


And like last year’s performance in Ord at The Golden Husk, this year UNL Opera was invited to perform in Central City. Central City High School’s musical director, Dane Christensen, is a graduate (music education) from UNL. The performance will take place on December 10.