A brave young boy lives in the desert with his mother, dreaming of a better life and occasionally embellishing the truth to make his daily life more bearable. The little family is poor, and the boy faces the possibility of becoming a beggar. Then a noble party of strangers arrive at the family door seeking shelter for the night; they're just passing through, but one of the kindly gentlemen recognizes the boy's innate decency and generosity. It sounds very much like the plot to Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, but it is in fact Gian Carlo Menotti's popular Christmas opera Amahl and the Night Visitors, a message of hope and selflessness set to stirring music. The Union Avenue Opera continues its tradition of performing Amahl and the Night Visitors this holiday season, with shows at 8 p.m. Friday, 5 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday (December 10 through 12) at the Union Avenue Christian Church (733 North Union Boulevard; 314-361-2881 or www.unionavenueopera.org). Tickets are $15 to $25.
Dec. 10-12, 2010