Mid-week holiday cheer

Mid-week holiday cheer

Looking for some holiday cheer for you and your family? Here are a couple of ideas that couldn’t wait until this weekend.

Free children’s opera

The University of Illinois School of Music Opera Studio is staging several free performances of the Christmas classic, “Amahl and the Night Visitors.”

The one-act opera, appropriate for children of all ages, was written in 1951 by Gian Carlo Menotti for NBC Opera Theatre as the debut production of the “Hallmark Hall of Fame.”

It's the story of a boy who is disabled and lives with his mother near Bethlehem just after the birth of Jesus. The Three Kings stop at Amahl's house for shelter on their way to present gifts to the newborn child. The family is poor, and Amahl’s mother worries that her son will grow up to be beggar. She tries to steal some of the kings’ gold, and when she is accosted by a page Amahl defends her with his crutch. Knowing her motives, the kings allow her to keep the gold, and wondrous things occur (no spoiler here).

The UI production opened Tuesday evening, but another performance is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. today at the Colwell Playhouse at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, 500 S. Goodwin Ave., U.

Two more performances are set for Sunday: 1 p.m. at St. Patrick's Church, 709 W Main St., U; and 5 p.m. at Faith United Methodist Church, 1719 S Prospect Ave., C.

Candy House Creations

Listen to holiday tunes while creating your own candy house from all sorts of goodies and treats provided by the park district. The houses aren’t really gingerbread — but they’ll last longer!

Drop by the Phillips Recreation Center any time between 2:30 and 4 p.m. Saturday to build your creation. But you have to register by noon Thursday. Call 367-1544.

The cost is $9 per house for residents, $16 for nonresidents. All ages welcome.

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