Amahl and the Night Visitors (1978)

Genres - Musical  |   Sub-Genres - Holiday Film  |   Run Time - 120 min.  |  
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Written by Gian-Carlo Menotti in 1951, Amahl and the Night Visitors has the distinction of being the first opera written for television. A Christmas favorite, the story deals with Amahl, a young peasant shepherd boy who can only walk with the aid of a staff. As the opera opens, Amahl is very excited. He has seen a truly strange and wondrous star outside, one with a long tail the likes of which he has never seen. His Mother, knowing that he likes to make things up, grows angry with him and dismisses his news. Soon there is a knock at the door. When the Mother opens it, she is astonished to find three kings. They tell her that they are in search of a very special king and show Amahl and his Mother the gifts they bring. The Mother leaves to alert the neighbors to the king's presence, and they return with gifts for the three sovereigns. Later that night, the Mother gives in to temptation and tries to take some of the kings' gold for her and Amahl. She is frightened when the kings catch her; however, they do not punish her, explaining that the one they are seeking does not need gold, they he will establish a kingdom based upon love. The Mother gives the gold back, and Amahl, moved by what he has heard, asks the kings to take his staff as a gift for the new king. As he does so, Amahl discovers that his selflessness has resulted in a miracle -- he can now walk. As the opera ends, he goes with the kings to give thanks and praise to the one who has brought this miracle about.

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Keywords

boy, king, peasant, holiday