Amahl and the Night Visitors : Work information

Gian Carlo Menotti ( Music, Images,)
Performed by
Donald Maxwell (Bass), James Rainbird (Voice), Lorna Haywood (Voice), John Dobson (Voice), Curtis Watson (Voice), Christopher Painter (Voice), Chorus of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, David Syrus (Conductor)

This work

Work name
Amahl and the Night Visitors
Work number

This recording

JAY Records
Recording date

The Composers

Gian Carlo Menotti

Learning music from his mother, Menotti made his first attempts at operatic composition at the age of 10. Soon after he began at the Milan Conservatoire (1923-27); on graduation he travelled to America, where he studied at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia. Completing his studies there in 1933 he remained there to teach, In 1937 he had his first successful stage work, Amelia Goes to the Ball, and he was to write several popular works in a similar vein. His works The Medium (1946) and The Telephone (1947) mark the high point of his success, and were among the first American works to gain a place in the operatic repertory while appeasing the popular audience.

Menotti wrote his own libretti, and in addition wrote texts for his housemate and lover Samuel Barber, including the libretto for Vanessa, Barber’s most famous opera. He was unafraid to exploit his Italian heritage; the lyricism of Verdi and Puccini, the verisimo plotlines of his serious operas and a concurrent gentle humour mark his works out. Though not a paid-up modernist, he was happy to build dramatic tension with atonality, polytonality and dissonant climaxes.

Accolades for Menotti continued to arrive; his opera The Consul (1950) won the Pulitzer Prize, and he repeated the achievement in 1955 with The Saint of Bleeker Street, written the previous year. Menotti would also, whenever possible, direct productions of his works. In addition to operas, he wrote numerous concertos, occasional pieces and vocal works.

Track listing

  • Prelude / Opening 3:42 min
  • What Was Keeping You Outside 3:26 min
  • Don't Cry Mother Dear 2:30 min
  • From Far Away We Come 2:10 min
  • Amahl, Go See Who's Knocking 4:11 min
  • It's Nice Here 2:25 min
  • I Was A Shepherd 1:38 min
  • This Is My Box 3:02 min
  • Have You Seen A Child? 4:01 min
  • Shepherds, Shepherds 2:52 min
  • Dance 3:21 min
  • Thank You Good Friends 3:08 min
  • All That Food 2:35 min
  • Thief! Thief! 3:40 min
  • I Walk Mother 2:46 min
  • What To Do With Your Crutch? 3:07 min


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 first performed on 24 December 1951 in New York City, at the NBC studios, where it was broadcast on television as the debut production of the Hallmark Hall of Fame. It was the first opera specifically composed for television in America. The opera is now a popular Christmas classic.