Amahl & Peter: A Family Affair

The Greater Bridgeport Symphony (GBS) and Greater Bridgeport Youth Orchestras (GBYO) join forces in this very special collaborative family event. This is the first time the two orchestras have performed together in the past 30 years!

Under the direction of Conductor Christopher Hisey, GBYO will perform Gian Carlo Menotti's Amahl and the Night Vistors, followed by GBS performing Serge Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf. A special treat will include both orchestras in a side-by-side performance piece to be announced shortly. The orchestras will be joined by a quartet of soloists and narrator in this very special family concert - an impressive evening not to be missed! 

We are pleased to have Orin Grossman, Chairman of the GBS Music Advisory Board and Professor of Fine Arts at Fairfield University, host an education segment as part of the concert - details to follow.

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About the Program


Amahl and the Night Visitors

Written by Gian-Carlo Menotti was commissioned by NBC and first performed live December 24, 1951, in New York City at Rockefeller Center.

This was conceived as an opera for children. The author, Gian-Carlo Menotti lived in Italy and recounts that they had no Santa Claus, supposing that Santa Claus was much too busy with American children to handle Italian children as well. In Italy, gifts were brought to children instead by Three Kings.

"I actually never met the Three Kings—it didn't matter how hard my little brother and I tried to keep awake at night to catch a glimpse of the Three Royal Visitors, we would always fall asleep just before they arrived. But I do remember hearing them. I remember the weird cadence of their song in the dark distance; I remember the brittle sound of the camel's hooves crushing the frozen show; and I remember the mysterious tinkling of their silver bridles.

My favorite king was King Melchior, because he was the oldest and had a long white beard. My brother's favorite was king Kaspar. He insisted that this king was a little crazy and quite deaf. I don't know why he was so positive about his being deaf. I suspect it was because dear King Kaspar never brought him all the gifts he requested. He was also rather puzzled by the fact that King Kaspar carried the myrrh, which appeared to him as a rather eccentric gift, for he never quite understood what the word meant.

To these Three Kings I mainly owe the happy Christmas seasons of my childhood and I should have remained very grateful to them. Instead, I came to America and soon forgot all about them, for here at Christmas time one sees so many Santa Clauses scattered all over town. Then there is the big Christmas tree in Rockefeller Plaza, the elaborate toy windows on Fifth Avenue, the one-hundred-voice choir in Grand Central Station, the innumerable Christmas carols on radio and television—and all these things made me forget the three dear old Kings of my old childhood."

- Gian-Carlo Menotti


Peter and the Wolf

Written by Sergei Prokofiev was commissioned as a new musical symphony and performed the first time on May 2, 1936 in Moscow's Central Children's Theatre.

Peter, a young pioneer, lives at his grandfather's home in a forest clearing. One day, Peter goes out into the clearing, leaving the garden gate open, and the duck that lives in the yard takes the opportunity to go swimming in a pond nearby. The duck starts arguing with a little bird ("What kind of bird are you if you can't fly?" – "What kind of bird are you if you can't swim?"). Peter's pet cat stalks them quietly, and the bird—warned by Peter—flies to safety in a tall tree while the duck swims to safety in the middle of the pond.

Peter's grandfather scolds Peter for being outside in the meadow alone ("Suppose a wolf came out of the forest?"), and, when Peter defies him, saying that "Boys like me are not afraid of wolves", his grandfather takes him back into the house and locks the gate. Soon afterwards "a big, grey wolf" does indeed come out of the forest. The cat quickly climbs into a tree, but the duck, who has excitedly jumped out of the pond, is chased, overtaken and swallowed by the wolf.

Peter fetches a rope and climbs over the garden wall into the tree. He asks the bird to fly around the wolf's head to distract it, while he lowers a noose and catches the wolf by its tail. The wolf struggles to get free, but Peter ties the rope to the tree and the noose only gets tighter.

Some hunters, who have been tracking the wolf, come out of the forest ready to shoot, but Peter gets them to help him take the wolf to a zoo in a victory parade that includes himself, the bird, the hunters leading the wolf, the cat and grumpy grumbling Grandfather ("What if Peter hadn't caught the wolf? What then?")

In the story's ending, the listener is told that "if you listen very carefully, you'd hear the duck quacking inside the wolf's belly, because the wolf in his hurry had swallowed her alive."

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06:00 pm | May 16
Scholarship Winner Recital & Annual Dinner 2020

We are thrilled to have 2018 GBAGO scholarship winner Elena Baquerizo, Organ Performance student at The Julliard School of Music join us for this dinner/recital.
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