Jim McKone

Special to The Town Crier

The magic of a real opera company continues to grow and thrive in McAllen.

“Amahl and the Night Visitors” sparkles brighter each year.

Music Director and Conductor Mazias de Oliveira delighted the audience with his fourth annual production of the classic. Five polished professional singers joined a young prodigy and 28 chorus singers to earn a standing ovation.

Five hundred McAllen school children saw the only other performance, the next day. It was a pity so many more music-lovers missed it with just one public performance.

Next Opera at the McAllen Civic Center will feature another super-classic, “Rigoletto,” on Jan. 29 and Feb.1. Opera lovers will have two dates for that one.

Hanna Urias, a freshman at McAllen Memorial High School, lit up the stage as a young girl playing the powerful, sometimes comic role as the youth who meets the three wise men.

The mother was excellently played and sung by Madeline Elizondo, who performs with the San Antonio Opera professional chorus. Her anguish seemed real.

The Three Wise Men all have impressive credits, adding “Amahl and the Night Visitors.”

Andrew Broadaway from Rice University played King Melchior, living up to his many operas, plus a festival where he sang and recorded operas by Jewish composers.

Timothy Birt added King Kaspar to his roles from Carmen to Merry Wives of Windsor to James Bowie in Gone to Texas, a lively group. All three kings sparkled.

Vincent Contrell as King Balthazar starred, as he did earlier as the lead in “The African Company Presents Richard The Third.” He has king-style credits in many roles.

Jonathan Momplaisir came out of New York City to perform the juicy role of The Page, in McAllen, after having played Amahl on the same stage in a past year. He sparkled in both.

All South Texas and Northern Mexico lovers of operas should put the next McAllen Civic Center opera, the classic “Rigoletto,” on their calendars for Jan. 29 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 1, at 3 p.m. Ticket prices range from $25 and $40 to $55. It is the real thing, seeing The South Texas Lyric Opera again at the McAllen Civic Center Auditorium.