Fans of the popular BET series Sunday Best, a gospel music competition much like American Idol, will surely recognize the name Le'Andria Johnson, who won Sunday Best's season three. Even if you don't recognize the name, you won't want to miss her when she heads the holiday concert at 7 p.m. Sunday at the Universal Truth Center for Better Living, 21310 NW 37th Ave in Miami Gardens.
Since winning Sunday Best, Johnson went on to win a Grammy and is now one of the hottest names in gospel and contemporary gospel music. Her debut CD, The Awakening of Le'Andria Johnson, entered at No. 1 on multiple music charts, including the Billboard Top Gospel Albums and the Top Christian/Gospel Album charts. At the concert, Johnson will showcase the music from her new holiday album, The Experience.
Appearing with Johnson at the concert, an annual holiday celebration at Universal Truth Center, will be local performers Claudette Cannon; 11-year-old singer/songwriter Elizabeth Kathryn; classically trained vocalist Victor Clairmont; and performing groups from the center to include the Voices of Truth, Children of Truth and the UTC Ensemble.
Produced by KVP Productions and Music World Gospel, the concert is directed by Christine Everett Ellis, director of the UTC Creative Expressions Ministry.
Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door, and may be purchased at UTC's bookstore or on the website, www.utruthcenter.org. For more information call 305-624-4991.
Orchestra Miami will present the timeless holiday classic, Amahl and the Night Visitors, an opera by Gian Carlo Menotti, in three performances. The first will be at 8 p.m. Saturday at Miami Shores Presbyterian Church, 609 NE 96th St. There will be two performances at Teatro Trail, 3715 SW Eighth St. in Coral Gables — at
2 p.m. on Jan. 6 (in English with Spanish subtitles), and at 4 p.m. (in Spanish with English subtitles).
The opera tells a simple touching story, which focuses on a young crippled boy, Amahl, and his mother, who welcome some very unexpected visitors into their home — the Three Kings — who are on their way to bring gifts to the Christ Child.
The production stars:
• Alexander Segarra, 13, as Amahl, a seventh grader at Ada Merrit K-8 Center, who has studied voice and piano at the Miami Conservatory since he was 9; Jouvanca Jean-Baptiste, a fast emerging leading voice in the opera world who recently completed a two-year contract as a Principal Resident Artist with Opera San Jose, and Puerto Rican soprano Marinel Cruz who has won many prizes and awards, including the Metropolitan Opera Encouragement Award. She and Jean-Baptiste will play the role of the mother.
• Justin John Moniz, tenor, who has been lauded by the South Florida Classical Review as a "superb high tenor"; tenors Kunya Rowley, who has performed oratorio and opera through the South Florida area and Miguel Llerena, a member of the Florida Grand Opera Chorus for the past 10 years. The three will play the role of Kasper.
• Baritone Graham Fandrei who was educated at the New England Conservatory as well as the Julliard School, has performed in venues throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia. He and Cuba-born Nelson Martinez, who began his operatic carer at age 19, will play the role of Melchior;
• Bass-baritone Kevin Short, who has thrilled audiences around the world and has a wide range of repertoire, having performed in literally every important opera theater, music festival and symphony orchestra in the world, and Miami resident Gibson Dorcé, who has performed with the Lyric Opera of Miami, Coral Gables Symphony and Opera, will play the role of Balthazar.