Amahl and the Night Visitors
Armidale Town Hall - December 1987
Stage Direction by Val O'Hara
Musical Direction by Errol Russell
Produced by Frances O'Brien
By Gian-Carlo Menotti. By arrangement with G Schirmer Inc.
One December night, almost two thousand years ago, a little crippled shepherd boy named Amahl sat outside of the poor cottage where he lived with his widowed mother playing a plaintive tune on his shepherd's pipe.
His mother tries to make him come inside but he pays no attention to her. Finally, she flies into a rage and threatens to whip him unless he comes in at once. He tells her about a wonderful star that he has seen moving across the sky "like a chariot of fire". Distraught by the poverty about her, she accuses him of lying and bursts into tears at the bleak future that seems to await her and her son. Amahl tries to comfort her with a fanciful tale of how rich they will become as beggars until even she has to smile at his whimsicality.
In the middle of the night, three richly clothed mysterious oriental kings and a page stop at the cottage seeking shelter for the night. Amahl goes to the door but is unable to convince his mother that this is not another of his "tall stories" . Finally, she goes to the door herself and is amazed to see the three kings and the wonderful gifts they bear. The kings explain that these are the gifts for the "child" and that the star will guide them to him.
Meanwhile, Amahl has summoned the other shepherds who, bearing baskets of food, come to welcome the kings. They too admire the rich gifts the kings carry.
After the shepherds have gone, all in the house go to sleep except the mother. She decides to steal some of the gold to keep Amahl from starving but she is caught by the page. Melchior explains what kind of a child they are seeking and offers to give her the gold she has taken. She refuses but wishes she could send a gift of her own to "such a child". Amahl, in a burst of complete unselfishness offers to give his crutch to the child and to the incredulous joy of all he is miraculously cured of his lameness.
As the opera closes, Amahl's pipe is heard in the distance as he sturdily follows the three kings on the way to the child bearing his crutch on his back.
Mother: Judy Brown, Amahl: Jeff Brady, King Kaspar: Laurie Pulley, King Melchior: Colin Grigg, King Balthazar: Jeff Warnock, The Page: Mark Pulley, Dancer: Zezette Simpson
Shepherds: Audrey Heatwole, Ann Haydon, Beryl Hamel, Frances O'Brien, Rhonda Davies, Rowena, Ros Brady, John Hamel, Bruce Moon, Bob Backhouse, Ray Day, Sarah Pidgeon, Melisa Cornish, Suzie Barber, Kirrily Peters, Nicia Andreoni
Violins: Kim Irik, Joanna Metcalfe, Reinette Black, Viola: Peter Scholl, Cello: Sue Metcalfe, Flute: Rosalind Epps, Oboe: Graham Maddox, Clarinet: Ingrid Pearson, French Horn: Gordon Gates, Trumpet: Mike Irik,Piano: Margaret Clack
Stage Director: Val O'Hara
Musical Director: Errol Russell
Producer: Frances O'Brien
Chorus Master: Colin Grigg
Rehearsal Accompanist: Margaret Clack
Choreographer: Margaret Coggan
Stage Manager: Lisa Smith
Costumes: Gail Smith, Lisa Smith, Rhonda Davies, Sylvia Pink