Posted on Saturday, November 24, Day after Black Friday
Well, it’s over.
Greatly anticipated, much enjoyed, for most of us.

Next?
Today. Friday.
A contrived, soften-the-blow of a holiday-future turned to holiday-past.
With a dreadful name: Black Friday.

Who came up with that?
Who seconded that motion?
Who voted “Aye?”
Not I.

I have a busy day in store.
A busy that purposely excludes mall shopping and use of a car.
Small errands.
Local.
Walking about, freezing my fanny; taking shelter in the T for short hops that revive.

Among my chores: lifting, cafe work on Michelangelo research, Whole Foods shopping, dry cleaners to get pants repaired, fresh lasagna noodles from Monica’s in North End, library to queue up for “My Brilliant Friend.”

Then home and a total warm-up.
Perhaps a hot shower.
I can feel it now.
MmmMM.

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Tagging Today
Saturday, November 24, 2018
My 226th consecutive posting.
Time is 12.01am.
Boston’s temperature will reach a high of 47* under partly cloudy skies.

Dinner is a grilled boneless rib eye steak.

Note here that Whole Foods continued their tradition of 49 cent turkey parts.
Bought 4.5 pounds of drumsticks to roast and then make a rich turkey stock, thence to adding to my tub of turkey gravy.

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Question of the Day:
What is “Amahl and the Night Visitors?”

Hint:

Left:
Adoration of the Magi,
Chartres Cathedral, by Jehan de Beauce,
France, 16th century.

Second from left:
Adoration of the Magi, by Jean Fouquet (15th century).
The Star of Bethlehem can be seen in the top right.
The soldiers and castle in the background may represent the Battle of Castillon (1453).

Second from right:
Russian icon of the Nativity.
The Star of Bethlehem is depicted at the center top as a dark semicircle, with a single ray coming down.
 
Right:
The Adoration of the Magi is a painting by the Italian Renaissance master Sandro Botticelli, dating from 1475 or 1476, early in his career.
The work is on display at the Uffizi in Florence.
Botticelli was commissioned to paint at least seven versions of The Adoration of the Magi.

Short Takes: City Life

Left:
Well-known to all visitors to the Public Garden is this one man band.
Immensely popular with kids, sometimes with audience of thirty.
I made a small donation for taking his photograph, his appearance his stock in trade.

Second from left:
Leaves, leaves everywhere,

Second from right:
Ice skating is lovely. 

Right:
Falun Dafa going through their rhythms.

Menotti was inspired by  The Adoration of the Magi   (Hieronymus Bosch, died 1516)  to create  Amahl and the Night Visitors .

Menotti was inspired by The Adoration of the Magi
(Hieronymus Bosch, died 1516)
to create Amahl and the Night Visitors.

Composer

Composer

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Answer to Question of Day:
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 from that venue as the debut production of the Hallmark Hall of Fame.
It was the first opera specifically composed for television in America.

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.

Willis Patterson, John McCollum, Richard Cross as the Three Kings, with Kurt Yaghjian as Amahl and Martha King as his mother in the 1963 production. Source: Promotional photo and historically significant photo of Amahl and the Night Visitors 1963

Willis Patterson, John McCollum, Richard Cross as the Three Kings, with Kurt Yaghjian as Amahl and Martha King as his mother in the 1963 production.
Source: Promotional photo and historically significant photo of Amahl and the Night Visitors 1963

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 partner 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."

Menotti wrote Amahl with the stage in mind, even though it was intended for broadcast.
"On television you're lucky if they ever repeat anything. Writing an opera is a big effort and to give it away for one performance is stupid."

The composer appeared on-screen in the premiere to introduce the opera and give the background of the events leading up to its composition.
He also brought out director Kirk Browning and conductor Thomas Schippers to thank them on-screen.

Amahl was seen on 35 NBC affiliates coast to coast, the largest network hookup for an opera broadcast to that date. An estimated five million people saw the live broadcast, the largest audience ever to see a televised opera.

SYNOPSIS:
Place: Near Bethlehem.

Time: The first century, just after the birth of Christ

Amahl, a disabled boy who can walk only with a crutch, has a problem with telling tall tales.
He is sitting outside playing his shepherd's pipe when his mother calls for him ("Amahl! Amahl!").
After much persuasion, he enters the house but his mother does not believe him when he tells her there is an amazing star "as big as a window" outside over their roof ("O Mother You Should Go Out and See"; "Stop Bothering Me!").

Adoration of the Magi by Florentine painter Giotto di Bondone (1267–1337).  The Star of Bethlehem is shown as a comet above the child.  Giotto witnessed an appearance of Halley's Comet in 1301.

Adoration of the Magi by Florentine painter Giotto di Bondone (1267–1337).
The Star of Bethlehem is shown as a comet above the child.
Giotto witnessed an appearance of Halley's Comet in 1301.

Later that night, Amahl's mother weeps, praying that Amahl not become a beggar ("Don't Cry Mother Dear").
After bedtime ("From Far Away We Come"), there is a knock at the door and the mother tells Amahl to go see who it is ("Amahl ... Yes Mother!").
He is amazed when he sees three splendidly dressed kings (the Magi).
At first the mother does not believe Amahl, but when she goes to the door to see for herself, she is stunned.

The Three Kings tell the mother and Amahl they are on a long journey to give gifts to a wondrous Child and they would like to rest at their house, to which the mother agrees ("Good Evening!"; "Come In!"), saying that all she can offer is "a cold fireplace and a bed of straw".

The mother goes to fetch firewood, and Amahl seizes the opportunity to speak with the kings.
King Balthazar answers Amahl's questions about his life as a king and asks what Amahl does.
Amahl responds that he was once a shepherd, but his mother had to sell his sheep. Now, he and his mother will have to go begging.
Amahl then talks with King Kaspar, who is childlike, eccentric, and a bit deaf.
Kaspar shows Amahl his box of magic stones, beads, and licorice, and offers Amahl some of the candy ("Are You A Real King?"; "This is My Box").

The mother returns ("Amahl, I Told You Not To Be A Nuisance!"). He defends himself, saying "They kept asking me questions," when of course it has in fact been Amahl asking the kings questions.
Amahl is told to go fetch the neighbors ("All These Beautiful Things"; "Have You Seen a Child?") so the kings may be fed and entertained properly ("Shepherds! Shepherds!"; "Emily! Emily"; "Olives and Quinces"; "Dance of the Shepherds").

After the neighbors have left and the kings are resting, the mother attempts to steal for her son some of the kings' gold that was meant for the Christ Child ("All That Gold").
She is thwarted by the kings' page ("Thief! Thief!").

When Amahl wakes to find the page grabbing his mother, he attacks him ("Don't You Dare!").
Seeing Amahl's defense of his mother and understanding the motives for the attempted theft, King Melchior says she may keep the gold as the Holy Child will not need earthly power or wealth to build his kingdom ("Oh, Woman, You Can Keep That Gold").
The mother says she has waited all her life for such a king and asks the kings to take back the gold.

She wishes to send a gift but has nothing to send.
Amahl, too, has nothing to give the Child except his crutch ("Oh, No, Wait").
When he offers it to the kings, his leg is miraculously healed ("I Walk, Mother").
With permission from his mother, he leaves with the kings to see the Child and give his crutch in thanks for being healed.


Black Friday? I was ready — my Christmas list right in here. Ooops! Forgot my credit cards.

Black Friday?
I was ready — my Christmas list right in here.
Ooops! Forgot my credit cards.

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Good morning on this Post-Holiday Saturday, November 24.
We talked about Black Friday, Amahl and the Night Visitors, and looked at some reproductions of art related to the Adoration of the Magi.

Che vuoi? Le pocketbook?

See you soon.

Love

Dom