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Amelia Goes to the Ball

opera buffa in one act

Music by Gian Carlo Menotti
Libretto by the composer; English version by George Mead
About Amelia Goes to the Ball

Menotti's first mature opera was written in Italian, but premiered in an English translation by George Mead.

Cast of Characters
Amelia, s Her Husband, bar
The Lover, t The Friend, c
The Chief of Police, b Two Chambermaids, ms

In her apartment in Milan, Amelia and her friend prepare frantically for the grand ball to be given that night. Amelia is ready to go when her husband bursts in; he has found a compromising letter, and demands to know who Amelia's lover is. Amelia agrees to tell him, but only if he promises to take her to the ball after all. He agrees, and Amelia reveals her lover as the man who lives upstairs. The husband rushes off to shoot him. Amelia, left alone, bemoans her fate; destined to miss the smartest ball of the season. As an afterthought, she goes out to the balcony and warns her lover, who comes down to join her by means of a rope. She convinces him to flee, and he wants her to come with him; he is hurt when she refuses. She can elope with him next week, she says, but she will not miss the ball. They are interrupted by the entrance of the husband; as Amelia prepares to go to the ball with him, the lover hides in an alcove. Unfortunately, the husband sees the rope by which the lover descended, and, searching the room, finds his hiding place. The husband tries to shoot the lover, but the pistol will not fire. The lover is about to overpower the husband, but the two men soon fall into a prolonged legal and moral argument about the case. After an impassioned aria in which the lover tells about his love for Amelia and a trio in which everyone wonders what the proper course of action is, the woman in question, in a passion of impatience, ends the debate by breaking a vase over her Husband's head. Shouting for help, she brings the chorus and the Chief of Police. Amelia tells her she was preparing for the ball when a burglar broke in and tried to rob her, in the process hitting her husband with a vase. The lover is dragged off to jail, and at the suggestion of the gallant Chief of Police, Amelia goes off to the ball at last on his arm.

Performance History
World premiere production
Opera Company of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
April 1, 1937
New York premiere
Metropolitan Opera, New York, New York
March 2, 1938
(6 performances)
Discography Search for recordings of Amelia Goes to the Ball at Amazon.com

excerpts from Amelia Goes to the Ball


Gian Carlo Menotti

The Medium/The Telephone (This set is a rerelease of the original 1949 recordings of The Medium and The Telephone by Columbia, which may have been the first recordings of any American opera in its entirety. This release also includes excerpts from an early recording of Amelia Goes to the Ball)

The Ballet Society/Balaban

2 CD / Pearl 122 (1949)

Gian Carlo Menotti

Amelia al ballo (Italian version of Amelia Goes to the Ball)

Amadini/Campi/Panerai/Zanolli/Mazzoni, La Scala/Sanzogno

CD / Testament 1179 (1954, released 2000)

Gian Carlo Menotti: "While I Waste These Precious Hours" from Amelia Goes to the Ball


Leontyne Price

The Prima Donna Collection

4 CD / RCA (1978)

Last update: January 1, 2009