05 Dec 2016


Gian Carlo Menotti wrote the music and the libretto of the moving Christmas story

“Amahl and the Night Visitors” – one of the most popular operas for children in the world today, is a typical example of how something, which had to happen, becomes a fact. When in the ‘40s of the past century the radio and TV giant NBC extended an invitation to Gian Carlo Menotti to write the title, initially he didn’t show a special interest. That way the idea “matured” several years, before in the Metropolitan Museum of Art the world-known composer came across with the painting “The Adoration of the Magi” by the famous Renaissance Dutch painter Hieronymus Bosch, which carried him away and made him take up the writing of the work.

It was created for broadcasting on the TV screen, but as the author admitted later on, actually he thought and wrote it as a spectacle for the stage. One way or another, the moving Christmas parable about goodness and the desire to be generous, even when you can’t afford it, conquers the audience since its first appearance on the screen, on 24 December 1951. Menotti finished it literary in the last moment before the TV broadcasting and the rehearsals ran before the work was entirely ready.  

The sentimental story and the pleasant and easy to be performed even by the amateurs music turned “Amahl and the Night Visitors” into a traditional element before Christmas in the programme of the TV giant NBC during entire 13 years and in the preferred stage adaptation for children. It is also one of the most performed opera titles in the 20th century. Only until 1978, it was plaid before audience in the USA in 587 spectacles.

It was produced for the first time in Bulgaria at the Music Theatre by the director Plamen Kartaloff in 1992. The next year, the production was presented in the National Palace of Culture. At the Sofia Opera “Amahl and the Night Visitors” was with director Yulia Krasteva.  “The work is based on the Bible parable about the adoration of the Magis, who, on their way to the newly born Jesus with their gifts, found themselves in the poor house of Amahl and his mother. The small invalid boy was healed after he gave with readiness as a present the only thing, he possessed – his crutch. From this moment, he followed the Magis as a living example for the miracles of the Infant, which started still with his birth. The concept of this opera is about the education of the children in spirituality. The libretto is by the composer Gian Carlo Menotti himself”, tells Yulia Krasteva.

The premiere of “Amahl and the Night Visitors” is on 17 December at 17.00 h. The next performances are on 18 and 26 December and on 7 January 2017 at 11.00 h. Conductor is Stefan Nedyalkov. The sets and costume design and the multimedia is by Elena Shopova. Choreographer is Lora Nikolaeva, assistant director – Rumyana Dimitrova. In the role of Amahl the spectators will see Maria Pavlova, the Mother is performed by Mariana Zvetkova, the three Magis: Kaspar – Hrisimir Damyanov, Melchior – Ilia Iliev, Balthazar – Stefan Vladimirov, the Page – Akelsandar Georgiev. Participants are the orchestra and the chorus of the Sofia Opera and Ballet and children from the Masha Ilieva Ballet School.