Film of the New England Marionette Opera Performance of Amahl and the Night Visitors
A one-of-a-kind video has emerged which will acquaint area residents with the magic that was once known as The New England Marionette Opera. This summer, theatre founder and general director Ted Leach, was viewing the few VHS tapes that survived the tragic fire that totally destroyed the Marionette Opera and its home theatre in Peterborough on January 1, 1999.
It was literally the last tape to be viewed, “number 51 out of 51” recounts Leach and it was a complete performance of Amahl and the Night Visitors. The company gave over 120 performances of the iconic holiday piece and, according to Leach, “this appears to be the final performance.”
He viewed the tape only once, fearing that another viewing might result in the tape breaking which had happened with many of the tapes. The tape was sent to facility in Boston that converted it to a DVD.
Normally the theatre did not videotape its performances, but for this performance, not only did they videotape it but the video camera was manned with the videographer following the action on the stage.
“We knew our way around Amahl,” said Leach, “and this performance was a world-class marionette exhibition.” The performance was followed by a pair of Christmas carols performed by the marionettes with some audience participation at the end. From beginning to end the DVD is about one hour long
“This was a bittersweet discovery” said Leach, “it’s fabulous that we have this vibrant record of what we were all about, but one can’t watch it without a mega-feeling of remorse.”
This program is free and open to all.