Picture it. New York City, NBC Studios, Christmas Eve, 1951. An hour-long broadcast begins with the sound of a cheery shepherd's pipe played by a small, disabled boy out in the cold. His mother calls him to come inside, but she doesn't speak her words. She sings them.
Hard to believe, but this premiere airing of Gian Carlo Menotti's Amahl and the Night Visitors was not only on network TV, but actually commissioned by something called NBC Television Opera Theater.
Amahl and the Night Visitors will be performed at 2 p.m. today and tomorrow at Emmanuel Episcopal Church, 811 Cathedral St. Tickets are $25 to $45. Call 410-547-7997 or go to operavivente.org.