Thursday, January 06, 2005


That's Dutch.
In German: Heilige Drei Könige.
In Spanish: el Dia de los Tres Reyes, la Fiesta de Reyes, or el Dia de los Reyes Magos.
Translation: Three King's Day, also known as Epiphany.
(Although, technically, This is the culmination of the season of Epiphany, directly following Advent. In more common parlance, the twelve days of Christmas...)

Many Christian traditions have the visit of the wise men occurring on this day.

The wise men have been on my mind more this season than recent years.

Just as ballet has "The Nutcracker", so opera has a special piece for children at Christmas: Amahl and the Night Visitors.
For two years The Lyric mounted productions and I had the pleasure of portraying Kaspar. As a boy, growing up in Italy, Menotti and his brothers had their own addition to the lore of the Three Kings. Italian children to not receive presents from St. Nicklaus. It is the Wise Men who bring the Christmas booty. He and his brothers always wondered why they might not get everything they asked for, and would, instead, receive some mundane practical piece of clothing...
They determined that one of the King's MUST be hard of hearing.

Years later, while writing his opera, half of Kaspar's lines seemed to be: "Eh?"

Whenever I see a creche, with the king's depicted in all their glory at the humble beginnings of the King of Kings, their is always one with a chest of jewels.

To most, this is the king bearing gold.

To me, it is gentle old Kaspar, with his box of magic stones.

This is my box,
this is my box.
I never travel without my box.

In the first drawer I keep my magic stones...
... carnelian against all evil and enemies...
... moonstone to make you sleep...
... lapis lazuli to help you to find water...

In the second drawer I keep my magic beads...

In the third drawer … I keep...
Licorice! Licorice!
Black string Licorice! Black string Licorice!
Have Some!

One last chance to say, Merry Christmas!


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