The first opera written for television, 'Amahl and the Night Visitors' has become the most frequently performed opera of all time, with over five hundred performances annually across the world.
Menotti's take on the Christmas story focuses on Amahl, a young handicapped boy, and his mother, who are visited by three Kings -- Balthazar, Melchior, and Kaspar -- who are on their way to find Jesus. The Kings stay the night, during which Amahl's mother tries to steal some of the Kings' gold and is caught in the act. Melchior suggests that she keep the gold, because the child they are visiting will rule his kingdom with love, not riches. Amahl's mother gives back the gold, wishing she had something to give of her own. Amahl offers his crutch as a gift and suddenly is able to walk. He decides to follow the Kings so that he himself may give his crutch to the Christ child.
The work is ideal for an amateur performance (for example a secondary school or a local dramatic society) since all the action takes place in one act and one place, and the work calls for limited, adaptable musical forces. It also gives each principal a chance to shine, either in a solo or an ensemble.
This is the Schirmer hardback edition of the full score.