Amahl at Augustana

November  15, 2012

    Twenty-three years after graduation, Lem Wade has returned to his alma mater. Now living in New York, he's the director of this year's production at Augustana College of the classic Christmas opera, "Amahl and the Night Visitors."                                                                                                                                                   Wade says he chose a career in music and opera as a child when he saw "Madame Butterfly" at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. 

   "It struck me so hard and so vividly - with the music and the grandeur of it, and the amazing sound of the singers. And just the whole fairy tale aspect of it. I found it enchanting and I thought I would love to do something like that."

   After graduating from Augustana in 1989, he studied at the Boston Conservatory, then spent several years studying and performing in Europe, including Broadway shows and even as a backup singer for rock bands.                                                                                                                                                                                               He began directing instead of performing, after getting a job as an assistant director.  Wade says his goal for Amahl at Augustana this weekend is to get the audience to connect with the characters and story by Gian Carlo Menotti.

  "And you think about who these people are, and you think about the time period, and you think about the adversity that the mother is experiencing, and her child. And you think about the role of these 3 kings putting faith into something they don't know if it's real or not. So you have to take all of those elements and figure out how do I tell this story to convey those elements."

Once in high school in Chicago, he sang the role of Amahl. Amahl and the NIght Visitors will be performed Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights at 7 o'clock, in Wallenberg Hall.