Amahl and the Night Visitors

When a person hits birthday No. 50, it's customary to have a party celebrating the big occasion.


The Amahl Puppets are turning 50 years old, and to celebrate they will combine with 60 live singers, musicians and puppeteers — including students from Saint John’s Preparatory School, the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University and monks from Saint John’s Abbey —to perform the one-act opera, "Amahl and the Night Visitors."

The opera will be performed at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 18; 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 19; and 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 20, at the Stephen B. Humphrey Theater on the campus of Saint John's University. Tickets are $20 for adults, $17 for seniors and $10 for students/youth/faculty and staff.

Seventeen students from Saint John’s Prep School will be operating the puppets with 24 CSB and SJU music students in the orchestra directed by David Arnott, associate professor of music at CSB and SJU; and a chorus of 15 and 4 semi-professional soloists being mentored by Carolyn Finley, professor of music. The part of Amahl will be sung alternately by two boys of The Saint John's Boys Choir.

Amahl_2.jpgThe puppets were commissioned by Queen Elizabeth II and created by John and Lyndie Wright of the Little Angel Puppet Theatre of London in 1966. In 2008, Saint John's Abbey and Saint John’s Preparatory School acquired the 23 life-sized puppets.

"Amahl and his fellow puppets are 50 years old. They needed some TLC from our team before becoming stage-ready again. We are thrilled that this production is bringing together so many members of our community," said Saint John's Prep Theatre Director Br. Paul-Vincent Niebauer, OSB.

"Amahl and the Night Visitors" was commissioned by NBC Television and broadcast live Dec. 24, 1951. Written by Gian Carlo Menotti and performed in English, the libretto tells the simple, yet powerful story of the Three Magi who stop for a night on their journey to Bethlehem and meet a special young boy named Amahl.

The play is a collaboration between Saint John's Abbey, Saint John's Preparatory School, The Saint John's Boys Choir, Fine Arts Programming and the CSB/SJU Music Department.