AISLE SAY Florida 


by Gian Carlo Menotti
Directed by Deborah Berioli

Historic Asolo Theatre

Ringling Museum, Sarasota

December 21, 2013

Reviewed by Marie J. Kilker


Projections brought Judea to Sarasota's 18th century European theater as the scene of "Amahl and the Night Visitors" in beautiful technicolor.  His mother grieves over her son Amahl's lameness and the poverty that seems to doom him to begging.   Deborah Berioli conveys her feelings powerfully in song and edgy facial expression.

From the audience and through a side box enter three Kings following a star from the East to Amahl's home. Eventually they'll go to Bethlehem to find the newborn Christ Child .

The longing, persistence, charity, excitement of the season fill the story of the visitors who are carrying gifts for the Child and ask to stay the night at Amahl's humble home. Each King Christopher Culpeppeer's Kaspar, Anthony Offerle's Melchior, Todd Donovan's Balthazar-- has a special personality, reflected in their Menotti songs. Their story includes humor but also a serious theft that does get resolved. But audience tears are due to the gift Amahl gives them to bring to the Child his crutch. And the tears are joyous when Amahl receives a gift in return.

Andrea Guaita, who plays Amahl, displays a lovely if sometimes a bit weak voice. She's fine dramatically. Able pianist Mary Jeanne Moorman is joined in excellent form by Michael Alegria on his flute. Le Voci di Venezie, a chorus directed by Stephen Johns, who performed earlier, also nicely make up the townspeople for Menotti's little gem.   

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