La bohème is an opera in four acts, composed by Giacomo Puccini to an Italian libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa, based on Scènes de la vie de bohème by Henri Murger. The world premiere performance of La bohème was in Turin on February 1,1896 at the Teatro Regio and conducted by the young Arturo Toscanini. Since then, La bohème has become part of the standard Italian opera repertory and is the one of the most frequently performed operas worldwide. This 1956 recording stars Victoria de los Angeles, Jussi Björling and Robert Merrill, Sir Thomas Beecham conducts.
Amahl and the Night Visitors is an opera in one act by Gian Carlo Menotti with an original English libretto by the composer. It was commissioned by NBC and first performed by the NBC Opera Theatre on December 24, 1951, in New York City at NBC studio 8H in Rockefeller Center, where it was broadcast live on television as the debut production of the Hallmark Hall of Fame. It was the first opera specifically composed for television in America.
Menotti was inspired by The Adoration of the Magi (Hieronymus Bosch, died 1516) to create Amahl and the Night Visitors.
Menotti was commissioned by Peter Herman Adler, director of NBC's new opera programming, to write the first opera for television. The composer had trouble settling on a subject for the opera, but took his inspiration from Hieronymus Bosch's The Adoration of the Magi hanging in The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
As the airdate neared, Menotti had yet to finish the score. The singers had little time to rehearse, and received the final passages of the score just days before the broadcast. The composer's companion Samuel Barber was brought in to complete the orchestrations. After the dress rehearsal, NBC Symphony conductor Arturo Toscanini told Menotti, "This is the best you've ever done."
Menotti distinctly wanted Amahl to be performed by a boy. In the Production Notes contained in the Piano-Vocal score he wrote: "It is the express wish of the composer that the role of Amahl should always be performed by a boy. Neither the musical nor the dramatic concept of the opera permits the substitution of a woman costumed as a child." This 1951 original cast recording is conducted by Thomas Schippers.
Join host Sean Bianco for his annual Holiday Opera Potpourri Show. Tune in to hear some of your favorite opera singers sing holiday favorites and of course we will have a visit from Mario Lanza singing some of his biggest holiday hits. A great show for the whole family.