The University of Iowa
The University of Iowa News Services Home News Releases UI in the News Subscribe to UI News Contact Us

University of Iowa News Release

Dec. 14, 2004

Local Students Attended UI Opera Theatre "Amahl" Production

Nearly 500 Iowa elementary and middle-school students attended a special Dec. 10 matinee performance of "Amahl and the Night Visitors," produced by the University of Iowa Martha-Ellen Tye Opera Theatre in Iowa City's newly renovated Englert Theatre.

The UI School of Music production was directed by Gary Race, with a cast of UI students and a chamber orchestra directed by William LaRue Jones.

This "Opera Field Trip" was coordinated by the UI Arts Share program.

"Amahl and the Night Visitors" was commissioned for broadcast on NBC television during the Christmas season in 1951, with music by Gian Carlo Menotti, who was the most successful American opera composer of the time. It was an immediate hit, and regional, school and university productions have maintained its place among the most popular operas in the United States.

The opera tells the heartwarming story of Amahl, a handicapped child living with his mother in what the score describes as "a disheveled ruin." On a quiet night they are visited by three strange and imposing men -- the Three Kings on their way to Jerusalem. As is the way of such fables, the kings -- and the audience -- learn an important truth from the innocent child, who in turn is healed by a magic that is greater even than the kings.

The goal of Arts Share is to strengthen the arts in underserved areas and to provide access to life-enriching arts experiences throughout Iowa.

To serve that goal, Arts Share makes artists available in music, theater, dance, the visual arts and creative writing. The available activities range from workshops to ensemble coaching to concerts to lectures -- and even special, custom-designed projects.

The program also sponsors a variety of on-campus performances available to school groups from throughout the region.

The School of Music and Arts Share are units of the Division of Performing Arts in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

For UI arts information and calendar updates, visit To receive UI arts news by e-mail,

* * *

Participating schools:

CEDAR RAPIDS: Prairie Middle School, 50 students; Roosevelt Middle School, 33 students; Summit Schools, 45 students

FT. MADISON: Aquinas Elementary School, 50 students

IOWA CITY: Longfellow Elementary School, 30 students; Lucas Elementary School, 120 students

KALONA: Mid-Prairie Kalona Elementary School, 55 students

KEOKUK: Cardinal Stritch Junior High School, 14 students

MT. VERNON: Washington Elementary School, 85 students

WASHINGTON: St. James School, 12 students

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Arts Center Relations, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 351, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Winston Barclay, 319-384-0073,

PHOTOS are available at