'Amahl and the Night Visitors' visit Forest Hill Church

Henry Dyck and Lara Troyer.

The classic Christmas opera Amahl and the Night Visitors will be performed at Forest Hill Presbyterian Church on Sunday, Dec. 20, at 11 a.m. and 7 p.m.

Gian-Carlo Menotti's uplifting opera tells the story of Amahl, a disabled boy who walks with a crutch and likes to tell tall tales. When he and his mother are visited by the Three Kings, faith and generosity lead to an emotional miracle.

Menotti specified that Amahl should always be played by a boy, not a young adult. A fortuitous casting opportunity has eight-year-old Cleveland Heights resident Henry Dyck singing the role of Amahl alongside his own mother, soprano Lara Troyer, as Amahl’s mother.

Troyer, a former associate artist with Cleveland Opera, is a voice faculty member at Kent State University. Her recent roles include solos with the Akron Symphony in The Messiah, Faure’s Requiem with Performers and Artists for Nuclear Disarmament, Susanna in The Marriage of Figaro, and soprano in Kapilow's Green Eggs and Ham.

Forest Hill Church Music Director Anne Wilson describes Henry Dyck as having perfect pitch and uncommon skill in jazz improvisation. “The duets he sings with his mother in Amahl,” she said, “will bring a tear to the eye of every listener.”

Other Cleveland Heights residents in Amahl include Mist’a Craig, Carl Jenks and Caleb Wright as the Three Kings, Jack Lentz as the Page, and oboist Cynthia Watson. Henry's younger sister, six-year-old Margaret, will play a shepherd in the opera.

Admission is free. Forest Hill Church is located at 3031 Monticello Blvd., near Lee Road. Additional information is available at 216-321-2660 or online at www.fhcpresb.org.

Peg Weissbrod

Peg Weissbrod is a freelance writer and outreach coordinator for Forest Hill Church in Cleveland Heights.

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Volume 8, Issue 12, Posted 3:10 PM, 12.01.2015