program notes by composition > S > Shepherd's Dance

Shepherd’s Dance

Gian Carlo Menotti/arr. Johnnie Vinson

Shepherd’s Dance is a selection from the one-act opera Amahl and the Night Visitors by Gian Carlo Menotti. The work was commissioned by NBC in the earliest days of television and was broadcast around Christmas every year from 1951 until 1966. Amahl is a poor crippled boy who encounters the Three Kings on their way to see the infant Christ and is miraculously cured.

Gian Carlo Menotti (1911 – 2007) was an Italian-American composer and librettist. Born in Cadegliano-Viconago, near the Swiss border, he began writing songs when he was seven years old. He began his formal musical training at the Milan Conservatory at age 12 and later studied at Philadelphia's Curtis Institute of Music. Fellow students at Curtis included Leonard Bernstein, and Samuel Barber who became his partner in life and in work. Menotti wrote over two dozen operas intended to appeal to popular taste. He won Pulitzer Prizes, con- ducted the Rome Opera and founded noted Spoleto festivals in Italy and the U.S.

Last updated on April 21, 2015 by Palatine Concert Band