Symphony, Porthole Players to hold auditions

The Newport Symphony Orchestra and Porthole Players will hold auditions for their collaborative production of the holiday opera, "Amahl and the Night Visitors."

Auditions are Saturday, Sept. 8, and Sunday, Sept. 9, at the Newport Performing Arts Center. They will be from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. both days. Performance dates for "Amahl" are Dec. 8 and 9, and rehearsals will begin in mid-October. Bonnie Ross and Rhodd Caldwell are director and producer respectively for this production, and it is their expectation that "Amahl" will become an annual holiday event.

For those unfamiliar with this show, it's not an opera in the traditional sense of Mozart or Puccini; rather, it's a sung, one-act play. The story relates what happens when a widow, broken down by poverty, and her son are visited by the Three Wise Men on their journey to Bethlehem. This was the first opera ever written for national television, and it had its premiere live on Christmas Eve, 1951.

Auditioners are asked to prepare approximately one minute — about 32 bars — of a song they're comfortable singing, and be prepared to read some of the dialogue of the opera as if it were a play. An accompanist will be available. In addition, auditioners will be asked to prepare very short segments of the opera, either solos for the principal roles, or about 16 bars of the choral parts. These materials are available to download on the website for Porthole Players at and any questions can be sent to [email protected]

There are five major adult roles to be cast:

  • The Mother:soprano or mezzo soprano; must be able to convey both her love for her son and her desperation of having nothing left to support him with.
  • King Kaspar:tenor;an older man, bothered by deafness (and a bit of a comic).
  • King Melchior:baritone;the leader of the three Kings; wise, gentle, kindly.
  • King Balthazar:bass or bass-baritone;mysterious, regal, a bit distant.
  • The Page: baritone; servant to the Kings.

There is also a chorus of shepherds and shepherdesses, and organizers are looking for strong, independent singers who can hold their own a cappella. Folks who are comfortable doing musical theater or choral singing should have no problem preparing for and performing in "Amahl."