The legend of the Flying Dutchman:
A Dutch sea captain once desperately attempted to round a cape during a storm. He cursed and swore, "In all eternity I won’t give up!" Satan heard, took him at his word, and doomed him to sail the seas for all eternity. An angel took pity on him and opened a path to salvation: Every seven years the Dutchman would be allowed on shore for one day. If, in that day, he is able to find a wife to be faithful until death, he would be redeemed. If, however, the woman does not keep her vow, she would share his fate of eternal damnation.
On its journey home, the ship of the Norwegian Captain Daland is forced to seek shelter in a small bay. While the crew and Daland rest on board, his steersman stays on watch. Trying to keep himself awake by singing a song, the steersman finally also falls asleep.
by Elizabeth Newton and Candace Evans courtesy of IU Opera Theater
The opera is set in the city of Thebes, Egypt. It is a series of episodes from the life of Akhnaten, Pharaoh of Egypt from 1351 to 1334 B.C.
The opera opens with an orchestral prelude and a reflection on the current conditions in Egypt. We are then introduced to the Scribe, a narrator who will guide us throughout the opera. The Scribe’s opening speech predicts the religious and social changes to come during the rule of Akhnaten.
Pharaoh Amenhotep III has died, and the people of Thebes bid farewell to him and accompany the funeral procession along the Nile.
Gian Carlo Menotti was born on 7 July 1911, in Cadegliano, Italy. At the age of 7, under the guidance of his mother, he began to compose songs, and four years later he wrote the words and music of his first opera, The Death of Pierrot. In 1923 he began his formal musical training at the Verdi Conservatory in Milan. Following the death of his father, his mother took him to the United States, where he was enrolled at Philadelphia's Curtis Institute of Music. There he completed his musical studies, working in composition under Rosario Scalero.
His first mature work, the one-act opera buffa, Amelia Goes to the Ball, was premiered in 1937, a success that led to a commission from the National Broadcasting Company to write an opera especially for radio, The Old Maid and the Thief, the first such commission ever given. His first ballet, Sebastian, followed in 1944, and for this he wrote the scenario as well as the score. After the premiere of his Piano Concerto in 1945, Menotti returned to opera with The Medium, shortly joined by The Telephone, both enjoying international success.
A few days before Christmas Amahl, a disabled boy, is playing in his bedroom with his toys when his mother calls for him to get ready for bed (Amahl! Amahl!). Playfully she teaches him about not telling lies (O Mother You Should Go Outside; Stop Bothering Me!) before she gets him to bed. Amahl drifts off to sleep (From Far Away We Come)…