Niagara Gazette

Night & Day

November 22, 2012

Three Kings bear gifts in the Riviera Theatre presentation


Niagara Gazette — “The organ has its own percussion, and actually doubles as a full orchestra,” added Ruminski, and those who have never heard this remarkable instrument going full-blast is in for a pleasant surprise.

This opera company itself is something of a surprise, a take-chances troupe which has staged on opera on a ship at the downtown Naval Park. 

A night, or an afternoon, at the opera need not scare anyone lacking a tuxedo or grounding in the art form. Audiences at previous productions of “Amahl and the Night Visitors” (this is Nickel City’s third year of presenting the work) have included young listeners, date-night couples, music majors and plenty of people who’d never before attended an opera.

North Tonawanda has something of a diamond here, an ambitious and growing company, performing a beloved work to get the Christmas season started (and yes, it’s in English), in a breathtaking venue, shined to the luster it had when it opened in 1926, that feels perfectly at home in the role of an opera house.

The holiday mid-ground between shopping and church is filled with televised cartoons, hectic preparation and so-called festivities that often lead to disappointment. The weekend’s “Amahl and the Night Visitors” somehow offers lightness and gravity in equal measure. You couldn’t ask for a more evocative way to get the celebration started.

IF YOU GO WHAT: The Nickel City Opera Company presents "Amahl and the Night Visitors" WHERE: Riviera Theatre, 67 Webster Street, North Tonawanda WHEN: 3 and 7 p.m. Friday, 7 p.m., Saturday and 3 p.m., Sunday COST: $25, seniors $20, students $10. MORE INFORMATION: Call the Riviera Theatre box office 692-2413

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