Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Advent 5.1 - Have You Seen a Child?

I couldn't bear to listen to Amahl and the Night Visitors during the past two Christmases but now, it seems, I can. Amahl is the chldren's operetta about the impoverished and lame shepherd boy and his mother, and their surprising encounter with the magi. I had memorized most of the score as a child, and watched it with my own children year after year as Christmas approached.

In this scene (start at 1.00), Amahl's mother wonders about the child to whom the three kings are bringing such lavish gifts, thinking, as the kings describe the child they seek, that her own beloved boy meets the description.

Amahl script found here:

Melchior:

Have you seen a child the color of wheat... the color of dawn?
His eyes are mild; his hands are those of a king - as king he was born.
Incense, myrrh, and gold we bring to his side; and the eastern star is our guide.

the Mother:

Yes, I know a child the color of wheat.... the color of dawn.
His eyes are mild; his hands are those of a king as king he was born.
But no one will bring him incense or gold... though sick and poor and hungry and cold.
He is my child my son, my darling my own.

Two Kings:

Have you seen a child the color of earth... the color of thorn?
His eyes are sad; his hands are those of the poor as poor he was born.
Incense, myrrh, and gold we bring to his side, and the eastern star is our guide.

the Mother:

Yes, I know a child the color of earth... the color of thorn.
His eyes are sad; his hands are those of the poor, as poor he was born.
But no one will bring him incense or gold... though sick and poor and and hungry and cold.
He is my child, my son, my darling... my own.

Three Kings:

The child we seek holds the seas and the winds on his palm.
The child we seek has the moon and the stars at his feed.
Before him, the eagle is gentle the lion is meek.

All the kings join in a chorus:

Choirs of angels hover over his roof and sing him to sleep.
He's warmed by breath.
He's fed by mother who is both virgin and queen.
Incense, myrrh, and gold we bring to his side, and the eastern star is our guide.

And at the same time, the mother sings about her own son:

The child I know on his palm holds my heart.
The child I know at his feet has my life.
He is my child, my son, my darling, my own...
And his name is Amahl.


5 comments:

Karen said...

Me too, and his name is Joseph. Oh, it hurts and I miss him. Thinking of you dear friend and your Josh. Safe travels and peaceful nights to you.
Love, Karen

Magdalene6127 said...

Dear friend, I am catching up. This pierced my heart. Thank you for sharing this potent scene and memory.

Laurel Pauline said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Laurel Pauline said...

(Whoops I had serious typo in post I deleted.)
This blog is so beautiful. AMAHL is my favorite, favorite and the audio snippet, you posted, is just perfect. I hope you don't mind that I referred all my Facebook friends to this particular blog. It's not like I have hundreds of "friends," but I hope other people get to enjoy what you wrote, and your site in general, as much as I did. A blessed Christmas to you & peace, in Christ, Laurel

Gannet Girl said...

Welcome, Laurel Pauline, and thanks for commenting.