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February 01, 2007


"All that gold...all that gold...do rich people know?"

We listened to Amahl every Christmas Eve. I tried to institute this tradition in my own family, but my children were taken aback by my predictable weeping at certain parts, and to this day I can't listen without tears. Tears for Amahl, tears for an era and people long gone.

Postscript: thank you for prompting me to relive my own moments with Amahl, Beth. I am off to iTunes to download this very precious part of my own history.

I love opera, but I'm not familiar with Menotti. Amahl does sound vaguely familiar, I must find that. Thanks for tweaking memories of the 50's!

"This is my box! this is my box! I never travel without my box!"

We didn't have a TV, but the music is stuck in my head — particularly that phrase because it became a little family joke while passing out presents.

I only watched Amahl once or twice, though I think we had to sing a couple of songs from the opera in chorus, but I think it was probably one of the things that conditioned me to get teary-eyed about small miracles of community feeling or generosity.

Nowadays I have a friend who is quite vocal about his scorn for Andrew Lloyd Weber. I have no opinion on the subject, but I doubt Lloyd Weber suffers much on his way to the bank. Likewise, people might grouse about Menotti, but sentiment really does connect with people a lot better than with critics -- and who are you trying to reach, anyway?

Good point, Peter. Amahl's generosity of spirit probably conditioned me, in a good way, at an early age. It's that old sense of "go and do likewise" - a message one doesn't necessarily need to receive in a church.


I was also remembering the yearly viewing of Amahl. But, clod that I am, my biggest memory was of how my brother and I would drive my mother out of her mind over the next few days by singing everything we said. A la, "Maaaay I have another COOOOOKIE, mother DARlinggggggg?" " Shut the reFRIGeraTOR DOOR, you ignorAMOUS" "YOUUUU ARRRRE SITTTTTTTING IN my SEEEEEEAT-leavenow!"

We couldn't figure out why people made such a big deal of studying opera, as clearly based on our example, it was a cinch to turn in a topnotch performance.


Hey Deb, nice to see you here! Thanks for the comment and for making me laugh - it's really funny, even if your mother didn't think so after a few days!

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Who was Cassandra?

  • In the Iliad, she is described as the loveliest of the daughters of Priam (King of Troy), and gifted with prophecy. The god Apollo loved her, but she spurned him. As a punishment, he decreed that no one would ever believe her. So when she told her fellow Trojans that the Greeks were hiding inside the wooden horse...well, you know what happened.