The American Boychoir

Gian Carlo Menotti
Amahl and the Night Visitors
(Opera in One Act)

First performed Christmas Eve, 1951, by the NBC Television Theater


Amahl (a crippled boy of about 12) Chet Allen, boy soprano
His Mother Rosemary Kuhlmann, mezzo-soprano
The Three Kings:  
     Kaspar (slightly deaf) Andrew McKinley, tenor
     Melchior David Aiken, baritone
     Balthazar Leon Lishner, baritone
The Page Frank Monachino, baritone

Chorus of Shepherds and Villagers

Orchestra and Chorus conducted by Thomas Schippers


Recorded January 4 and 10, 1952, in New York,
     under the personal direction of Mr. Menotti
Produced by John Pfeiffer and Richard Mohr
Recording Engineer: Lewis Layton
Reissue edition digitally remastered by:
     Nathaniel S. Johnson, Supervisor; James Nichols, Engineer

RCA Gold Seal CD (6485-2-RG)
Available online at:


  Amahl! Amahl!/Oh, Mother, you should go out and see!
             (Amahl and His Mother)
  Don't cry, Mother dear (Amahl and His Mother) M3U WM D/L
  Are you a real King? (Amahl, Balthazar and Kaspar)



The Story of Amahl

Somewhere in the world lives a crippled little shepherd called Amahl, with his mother, an impoverished widow. Nothing is left to them of the little they ever had, and they are now faced with hunger and cold in their empty house.

Three Wise Men, on their way to Bethlehem, stop at the hut and ask to be taken in for the night. Amahl and his mother welcome them and their Page as well as they can, and are much astonished at the splendor of their robes and the wealth of gifts they are carrying with them. When Amahl's mother realizes that the Three Kings are looking for a newborn babe and that the expensive gifts are all destined for him, she becomes bitter and envious. She cannot understand why at least some of these gifts could not be given to her own child, who is so poor and sickly.

Under cover of darkness, while the Three Kings are asleep, she steals some of the gold from them - and is caught red-handed. When she explains to the Three Kings that she needs the gold to feed her starving child, she is readily forgiven. With great tenderness they try to explain to her who this newborn child is and how much he needs the love of every human being to build his coming kingdom. Touched by their words, the poor widow not only gives back the stolen gold, but wishes she could add a gift of her own. Little Amahl comes to her rescue. He impulsively hands the Three Kings his wooden crutch, his most precious possession, and in so doing he is miraculously cured of his lameness.

As dawn appears in the sky, the Three Kings prepare to resume their journey. Amahl begs his mother to let him join them, and he is finally allowed to follow the Kings to Bethlehem to adore and give thanks to the Christ Child.


The Three Kings, Amahl and His Mother

(Chet Allen, who created the role of Amahl, was a member of the Columbus Boychoir (later the American Boychoir) and played the role of Amahl for several seasons.)

Copyright 1952, Radio Corporation of America


Copyright 2002
This page was last modified on 28 November 2004