Amahl and the Night Visitors

By arrangement with Schirmer Inc. publisher

by Gian Carlo Menotti

Amahl and the Night Visitors, the joyful one act opera composed in 1951 by Gian Carlo Menotti is coming to Nanaimo!  Opera Nanaimo is pleased to announce that this beloved holiday season opera sung in English will be the company’s first fully in-house produced opera.  Keeping with the mandate of Opera Nanaimo, the principal professional cast hails from BC and the chorus will be local singers and dancers from the Nanaimo area. 

Amahl and the Night Visitors was the first opera ever to be shown on television. Composer Menotti directing the first production himself stated the  inspiration came to him from a picture of the “ The Adoration of the Magi” by the artist Hieronymus Bosch hanging at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.  Menotti wrote the opera especially for children as he tried to capture his own childhood dream of “seeing the three wise men” on their way to bring gifts to the Christ child in Bethlehem.   In Europe the tradition was that the Magi brought gifts to children but they were always unseen. This tradition is echoed today in North America as Santa Claus arrives secretly in the night to young ones here. 

Amahl is a story of a young boy growing up. While capturing the enchantment and magic of the holiday season it also tells of the relationship between a young boy and his mother. 

Wonderful music, dancing and singing by a shepherd’s chorus, magic and humour from the Kings and a lovable boy standing by his mother’s side as she fights poverty makes for an enjoyable holiday season’s entertainment for the entire family.  Join Opera Nanaimo in celebrating the holiday season by attending Amahl and the Night Visitors at the Ecumenical Church of Nanaimo on Dec. 29th, and 30th with a 7:30 p.m. curtain time.  Tickets are available now in good time for holiday season gift giving from the Port Theatre. 

Read synopsis
Amahl is a poor, disabled shepherd boy who is constantly telling tall tales. He is sitting outside playing his shepherd’s pipe and after much persuasion from his mother to come inside he tells her there is an amazing star “as big as a window” outside over their roof. Of course his mother does not believe him. After bedtime there is a knock at the door and the mother tells Amahl to see who it is. He is surprised to see three splendidly dressed kings (the Magi) and tells his mother but she does not believe him. When she goes to the door to see for herself, she is stunned. The Three Kings tell the mother and Amahl they are on a long journey to give gifts to a wondrous Child and they would like to rest at their house. The mother agrees saying that all she can offer is a cold fireplace and a bed of straw. While she is fetching firewood, Amahl seizes the opportunity to speak with the kings. Balthazar answers Amahl’s questions about his life as a king and asks Amahl what he does. Amahl responds that he was once a shepherd, but his mother had to sell his sheep. Now he and his mother have to go begging. Amahl then talks with King Kaspar, who is childlike, eccentric, and a bit deaf. Kaspar shows Amahl his box of magic stones, beads, and liquorice, and offers Amahl some of the candy. The mother returns and Amahl is told to fetch the neighbours so that the kings may be fed and entertained properly. After the neighbours leave and the kings are resting, the mother attempts to steal some of the kings’ gold that was meant for the Christ Child. She is thwarted by the kings’ page. When Amahl wakes up he finds the page grabbing his mother, so he attacks him. Seeing Amahl’s weak defence of his mother and understanding the motives for the attempted theft, King Melchior says she may keep the gold as the Holy Child will not need earthly power or wealth to build his kingdom. The mother says she has waited all her life for such a king. She asks the three kings to take back the gold and says she wishes to send a gift but has nothing. Amahl, too, has nothing to give the Christ Child except his crutch. When he offers it to the kings, his leg is miraculously healed. With his mother’s permission, he leaves with the kings to offer his crutch to the Christ Child in thanks for being healed.

Two performances only: December 29 & 30, 2015 7:30 pm

Ecumenical Centre, 6234 Spartan Rd, Nanaimo (off Metral drive)

Lots of free parking on-site