Christmas nostalgia



Boxes of dates with a plastic sword; Turkish Delight that covered you (and the cat) in icing sugar; dying of a surfeit of Christmas cake; 14 variations on a theme of turkey (with a final, rather dyspeptic, passacaglia)… and so on ad (literally!) nauseam. But do you remember Amahl and the Night Visitors??

Every Christmas from the mid-fifties onwards that dratted boy with his cursèd oboe would come to haunt me, the tune going round and round and round in my head until it was impossible to tell where Amahl ended and the (conceptual) plum pudding began.

Sixty or so years later, I have – I like to think – a slightly more grown-up attitude to the work. One of the first television operas, it proved to be both popular and enduring; and clearly demonstrated its creator, Gian Carlo Menotti’s great melodic and dramatic skills.

Here then, for your Christmas entertainment, is the original dratted boy with the original cursèd oboe in the original NBC production; and all of them introduced by a (rather nervous) composer:

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