Amahl and The Night Visitors

Amahl and the Night Visitors is an opera in one act by Gian Carlo Menotti with an original English libretto by the composer. It was commissioned by NBC and first performed on December 24, 1951 in New York City, at NBC studio 8H in Rockefeller Center, where it was broadcast live on television as the debut production of the Hallmark Hall of Fame. It was the first opera specifically composed for television in America even though Menotti wrote Amahl with the stage in mind. The opera is now a popular Christmas classic.

Amahl is a disabled boy who can walk only with the aid of a crutch. Although he has a kind and pleasant heart, Amahl has a problem with telling tall tales and, occasionally, lies. He tells his mother that there is an amazing star “as big as a window” outside, over their roof (O Mother You Should Go Outside; Stop Bothering Me!).

Later that night, there is a knock at the door and his mother tells him to go see who it is (Amahl…Yes Mother!). He is amazed when he sees three splendidly dressed kings (the Magi). They tell the mother and Amahl that they are on a long journey to give gifts to a wondrous child, and that they would like to rest at Amahl’s house.

As the mother is thwarted in her attempt to steal some gold that was meant for the Christ child (All That Gold) and after Amahl wakes in defense of his mother, King Melchior says she may keep the gold after he realizes the mother’s motives saying the Holy Child will not need earthly power or wealth to build his kingdom.

In response, the mother wishes to send a gift but has nothing to send. Amahl offers his crutch for it is all he has to give. Immediately upon saying this, his leg is miraculously healed. He joyfully leaves his mother at the cottage and goes off with the Magi to see the child and give his crutch in thanks for being healed.

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