Gian Carlo Menotti died today at a hospital in Monaco. He was 95.  In the days before television became a total waste of time, NBC commissioned him to write the first opera specifically for the new medium.  For many years, Amahl and the Night Visitors was played every year at Christmas and it introduced millions of people, including me, to the idea of opera.  I haven’t heard it for years and thus have no adult opinion of whether it is good or not but it was a very good thing for NBC and Menotti to have done. 

5 Responses to “Gian Carlo Menotti, 95”
  1. Scott says:

    He wrote a lot of quite fantastic other works too, outside of opera. The choir I sing in did a performance of his “The Gorgon and the Manticore” for chorus and dancers a few years back, and it was incredibly effective and quite moving. There’s something wonderfully, disarmingly direct about his music that I think is very admirable.

  2. I sang in the chorus of Amahl when I was in highschool, and my recollection is that it was quite a good little opera. And lots of fun to sing.

  3. Graham Rieper says:

    With Amahl on TV once a year while growing up, I knew most of the music before I knew what an opera was. Haven’t heard it in decades, but I can still remember the tunes.

  4. david toub says:

    Rodney, I agree. I loved Menotti’s music as a child, and even went to see “Help, Help, the Globolinks” somewhere in the Village in the 60’s. Great stuff. Same with The Consul, The Medium, etc. All of this seems dated now, but at the time, it was very engaging music. Not cutting edge, of course, but I thought he wrote very well for children. Not many composers do.

  5. Rodney Lister says:

    A friend of Ezra Sims’s, at least according to Ezra, used to say that there was something in Amahl for every occasion (“This is my box,” “Are you sure, sure, sure?”, “Thank you, thank you, thank you kindly thank you.”)
    I think he was probably right. Actually, I think the music is, at the very least, not half bad.