It’s not often that sequential presentations by one organization can produce such diametrically opposed results. But that is exactly what Amarillo Opera accomplished on Feb. 1 and 2 in the productions of the Moipei Sisters and the “Fireflies of Terezin.”
The first distilled sounds of pure delight while the second forced the audience to face one of humanity’s greatest travesties.
The triplets immediately informed the large crowd at Amarillo Little Theatre from the opening note of our national anthem that this evening held wonders.
Though each voice sang in a different register, the similar timbre produced an incredible vocal blend. Half of the evening’s program derived from operas and musicals, the most moving being “O Mio Bambino Caro” from “Gianni Schicchi” by Puccini.
Two of the works came from the Kenyan national repertoire and sung in dialect. These works pulsed with a tribal rhythm that militated against standing still, and all three ladies, and many of the audience bounced to the sound.
Two of the songs had roots in America’s past: “The Sounds of Silence” and “Low Down the Chariot.” Many grandparents in the audience recall the 1960’s when we embraced”Silence” as our anthem.
Every song had its own personality, as did each sister. Each lady also revealed a wacky sense of humor and an enlightened stage presence that kept us laughing between numbers.
The Moipei’s were already well-known in their own country, serving as Kenya’s first ambassadors to UNICEF as well as singing at the inauguration of the Kenyan president.
Through a serendipitous connection with the Marianist Order they found themselves at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio where they have sung the national anthem for the NBA Spurs as well as for the swearing in of the mayor.
Congratulations on their recent graduation. Their plans involve a return to Kenya; hopefully it won’t be too soon as their Texas star is rising and they’re almost fluent in Texan!
Many thanks to ALT for hosting this event, and to James Gardner who accompanied the ladies gratis. Big congratulations go to Mary Jane Johnson and Amarillo Opera who reaffirmed the positive trajectory of the organization as it moves into 2019.
That’s why we can say with pride and confidence: “Keep Amarillo Artsy! Keep Austin Weird! Keep Lubbock in the Rear View Mirror!!!!