Arts, anyone?

I just observed one of my personal delights of the holiday season:  I watched my dvd of the 1951 television production of Amahl and the Night Visitors.

Went through half a box of kleenex.  And found so much remarkable, as I always do.  Is there anyone out there who remembers?

  • Those exultant, exotic chords of Menotti,
  • the resonance of the three kings,
  • the high, high treble notes of Amahl,
  • the wide vocal range of the mother…

And strangest of all, the concept of an original opera commissioned for NBC on Christmas Eve. Can you imagine a network show of this magnitude with no commercials?  Great music, great singing, a live orchestra?

The DVD is available – if you are interested, if you remember, if you actually romanticize the 50s, check this out.  The credits rolling at the end confirm that there was such a thing as the NBC Opera of the Air, an NBC symphony orchestra, and an affiliation with the conductor, Thomas Schippers.

In those days, kids took music lessons and practiced (almost) daily.  Shows such as Amahl and the Night Visitors conveyed the possibilities for artistically-inclined people.  Drama, sets, performance, singing … presented for our entertainment.  Think about it.

As Amahl sang, “Look, Mother, I can walk, I can run, I can dance”.  And so can the rest of us.

I wish all readers an inspired and successful new year.

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