Christmas past, Christmas present

When I was a little girl, I distinctly recall watching   the operetta , “Amahl and the Night Visitors”on black and white  TV. This was probably around 1959, when I was 7 years old. My Mom, who had a beautiful soprano voice and loved opera, was determined to make time in her busy Sunday to take in the entire program, which was an hour long. I told her I wanted to watch, too. She looked at me very seriously and said, “I don’t want to hear any complaining from you once it starts. You probably won’t like the music, but you might like the story.” I promised to be quiet. Mom was right – the music sounded discordant to me, and I couldn’t understand most of the words the performers were singing , but wow, the story grabbed me like the stickers on the blackberry bushes in our backyard. Amahl was poor – so was I! Amahl’s Mom was crabby – so was mine! Amahl made up stories – me too! But Amahl had one more strike against him – he was crippled. He was a lame boy ( we didn’t say ‘special needs’ in those days) who had to use a crutch. Oh man, now that was hard. What was going to happen to this kid? His Mom said they were down to their last bits of food. What will they do?  You will have to listen to the operetta yourself to find out the answers to those questions.  Amazon has quite a few ways that you can enjoy a performance of Amahl: cd, dvd, mp3 download,the full score, the libretto, etc. Here is a  link  you may find helpfull-

I listened to “Amahl and the Night Visitors” again the other night. This little operetta always helps to realign my Christmas thinking. Beautiful music and a beautiful message. But I bet if Menotti had been writing it even a decade later he would not have chosen the name “Amahl” for the little crippled boy who is the main character. There is often a live performance of the operetta in the Twin Cities during the Christmas season. A few years ago I told a friend at work that I was excited to be going to see “Amahl” on the weekend. She wanted to know which mall it was – Rosedale Mall  or Ridgedale Mall. Hmm,I guess the name of the operetta can be misunderstood these days, but I don’t think there is a problem understanding  and appreciating the story.

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