Menotti: Amahl (Amahl And The Night Visitors/ Sebastian/ Ballet Suite) (Andrew McKinley/ Dimitri Mitropoulos/ Leon Lishner) (Naxos Historical: 8.111364)
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The reception for the first television broadcast of Menotti's opera Amahl and the Night Visitors (also available in an acclaimed modern recording on Naxos 8.669019) was overwhelming: an estimated five million viewers, the NBC switchboard jammed with congratulatory calls and an unprecedented front-page review in The New York Times. Quickly recorded for RCA Victor, the album became a best-seller and the opera remains a Christmas evergreen, brimming with memorable tunes for both soloists and chorus. Set in 17th-century Venice, Menotti's ballet Sebastian, the concert suite from which is heard here, was applauded by The New York Times as an 'unblushing melodrama... brilliantly effective'.
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