URI Opera Theater to feature acclaimed nine-year-old vocalist, Nov. 21

Production of “Amahl and the Night Visitors” includes performance by Alexis Clare McKinnon

KINGSTON, R.I. – November 9, 2010 – When the URI Opera Theater brings the beloved holiday classic, Gian Carlo Menotti’s opera Amahl and the Night Visitors to stage later this month, they also will bring the acclaimed nine-year-old vocalist Alexis Clare McKinnon of Lincoln, the youngest singer to perform in a college opera anywhere in the country.

McKinnon, who will perform the title role, already has an impressive list of performing credits that include her appearance as the opening act for a local performance by Grammy-award winning songwriter, Bill Harley. She has been studying with the director of the URI Opera Program, Professor Rene de la Garza, since she was five years old.

The performance will be on Sunday, November 21 at 3 pm in the URI Fine Arts Center Concert Hall, 105 Upper College Road, Kingston. General admission is $10, or $5 for students with ID, on a first-come basis starting an hour before the performance. Please note this concert is likely to sell out, so come early!

First televised in 1951 and broadcast annually on NBC for many years, the holiday opera tells the story of a poor crippled boy and his mother who are visited by the Magi. McKinnon plays the role of Amahl and is joined by URI opera students and the URI Concert Choir. The cast includes: Mother, Elise DeFusco of Wakefield; King Kaspar, Billy Ray Poli of South Hadley, Mass.; Melchior, Devon Morin of North Kingstown; King Balthazar, Sulaymaan Miles of Newport; and Page–Sean Marsh of Hopkinton. The performance is directed by Rene de la Garza, with conductor Mark Conley.

The concert will also include scene selections from four other Menotti operas, including one of his two Pulitzer Prize-winners, The Consul, with special consultation by illusionist Marc Gilday; The Telephone or L’Amour à Trois; The Medium, and Menotti’s science fiction opera commissioned and performed in Germany, Help, Help, the Globoliinks. Music will be provided by pianist Patrice Newman and a blended orchestra of professional and student musicians.

The URI Fine Arts Center Concert Hall is handicap-accessible, and parking is available in the lot behind the building, off Bills Road.

For more information, contact the URI Department of Music at 874-2431 or check the department website at: www.uri.edu/artsci/mus.