Amahl and the Night Visitors - 1980

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UCLA Department of Music and Committee on Fine Arts Productions present

The UCLA Opera Theater and
University Symphony Orchestra

Gerald Anderson, Conductor
John Hall, Stage Director

Amahl and the Night Visitors
Words and Music by Gian-Carlo Menotti

Friday, Saturday, Sunday
December 19 - 21, 1980 – 7:30 and 9:00 pm
Schoenberg Hall, UCLA


By Robert Read

By the mid-twentieth century, the Italian-born composer Gian Carlo Menotti had achieved world recognition as an operatic composer through the appearance of such notable stage works as The Medium in 1947, and, three years later, the critically acclaimed The Consul. It was in 1951, then, that the National Broadcasting Company commissioned Menotti to write a “Christmas” opera expressly for television, to be broadcast at the end of the year.

In creating the work, Menotti drew from his own childhood experiences in rural Italy, where the Three Kings, rather than Santa Claus, were known to bring holiday gifts to children. Characteristically, the composer did not actually assemble the work in concrete form until shortly before the Christmas deadline. Menotti later recalled that, as the year progressed, “I simply didn’t have one idea in my head. One November afternoon as I was walking rather gloomily through…the Metropolitan Museum, I chanced to stop in front of The Adoration of the Kings by Hieronymus Bosch, and as I was looking at it, suddenly I heard again…the weird song of the Three Kings…They had come back to me and had brought me a gift.” The character of Amahl surely was drawn from the composer’s own childhood experience; Menotti himself was for a time a cripple before being taken to the Madonna at the sanctuary of Sacro Monte, near his birthplace, the town of Categliano, after which his leg healed completely.

The world premiere performance of the opera, which was barely an hour in length, was indeed the live broadcast over NBC television on December 24, 1951; subsequent television presentations of Amahl were taped productions. The first live stage performance of the work was given by the New York City Opera in April 1952; the conductor for this performance was the late Thomas Schippers, who had conducted the premiere broadcast and who on this occasion was making his New York City Opera debut.

In the 29 years since its creation, Amahl and the Night Visitors, with its harmonic simplicity and refreshing major key, has become perhaps the world’s most frequently performed opera; in 1969, for example, there were no less than 350 productions in the United States alone. The handsome production which you are hearing this evening marks the restoration, after a hiatus of several years, of a most delightful Christmas tradition of the UCLA Department of Music.


Daniel Mora (19)
Sean Karlin (20)
Paolo Caruso (21)

His Mother
Louise Cournoyer (19)
Pazzi Bohnenkamp (20)
Cheryl Swanson (21)

King Kaspar
Jeff Araluce (19)
Richard Horne (20)
Steve Dublin (21)

King Melchior
Christopher Deane (19-21)
Bill Hungerford (20)

King Balthazar
Yoav Steve Paskowitz (19-21)
Steve Steinberg (20)

The Page
David Jones (19-21)
Ron Naiditch (20)

Neighboring Shepherds:
Jean Balgrosky-Mukri
Josh Bernard
Cathy Campbell
Ruth Dubin
Bennett Lee
Cheryl Lewin
Jason Ma
Steven Maeda
Julie Maple
Thom Matthews
Natalie May
Alan Muraoka
Suzanne Obendorf
Evangeline Weck
Bruce Wickersham
Carmel White
Dereck Zovack

The Adults

Dan LaMar – Val's dad, a vaudevillian
Frank Moran

Maizie LaMar – Val's mom, a vaudevillian
Lori Beth Switzer

Nat Blackstone –
Marshall's dad, a vaudevillian
Dennis Beasley

Emma Blackstone –
Marshall's mom, a vaudevillian
Courtney Pope

Sheriff Reynolds -
Eric Leviton

Rene Flambeau – famous French aviator
Todd Caleca
Larry Long

Phil McCabe – a radio announcer
Joe Santiago

University Symphony Orchestra

Shirley Marcus*
Christy Desmet
Howard Goldstein
Ankie Krijbolder
Greg Maldonado
Lucas Richman
Martin Weinberger

Sven Reher*
Anthony Collins
Eric Kujawsky

Julie Silverstein
Irene Snavely

Nobukatsu Hasebe
Greg Sarchet

Karin Heosli
Dennis Rihn

Mark Howard
David Robertson

Ricky Hoyt

Cynthia Pearce

French Horn
Eric Grenier

Paul McGhee

Pablo Helman
Suzanne Snavely

Kathleen Moon**

Peggy Sheffield*



Gerald Anderson

Stage Director
John Hall

Musical Preparation
Peggy Sheffield

Scenic Design
Archie Sharp

Costume Design
Edythe Johnson

Robert Deman

Lorin Sklamberg

Lighting Design
Ray Gonzalez

Production Manager
Jerry Kurtz

Production Coordinator
Kathleen Moon

Program and Publicity
Carol Vane

The UCLA Opera Workshop

Samuel Krachmalnick

John Hall

Coaching and Repertoire
Mario Carta
James Low
Peggy Sheffield

French and German Diction
Sybil Hast

Body Movement
Will Salmon

Musical Coaching
Roger Malouf
Sigrid Wagner

Edythe Johnson

Diana Alessi

Produced by arrangement with G. Schirmer, Inc., publisher and copyright owner.
Thanks to Donn Weiss for his kind assistance with our chorus.


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