Music by Gian Carlo Menotti Libretto by the composer inspired by the painting The Adoration of the Magi by Hieronymous Bosch
About Amahl and the Night Visitors
One of the most popular of American operas, Menotti's work is performed throughout the country every Christmas season. At its premiere the work was the first opera ever written expressly for television, and it was replayed on NBC every year until the original video recording was lost. The RCA CD below has the same cast as that telecast, but the video recording is a later production.
Cast of Characters
Amahl,a crippled boy, about 12,treble
Chorus of shepherds and villagers; dancers
Amahl, a shepherd, tries to tell his mother about what he has seen outside; an enormous star with a long tale. His mother, used to his habitual lying, grows angry; she is even angrier when Amahl tells he that a knock at the door is three kings come to visit them. The kings enter and tell the two peasants that they have come to find a king, and they show the rich gifts they have brought him. While Amahl's mother is out gathering wood for the fire, Amahl asks the kings questions about their lives. The mother returns with her neighbors, and the villagers present their gifts to the visitors. That night, Amahl's mother tries to steal some of the kings' gold to use to help her child; she is caught, and when the kings offer to let her keep the gold, explaining that the king they seek will need nothing but love to rule his kingdom, she returns it. Amahl offers his staff as an additional gift, and suddenly finds that he can walk. He leaves with the kings to pay homage to the child who has healed him.
World premiere NBC television broadcast December 24, 1951