Gian Carlo Menotti

Help, Help, the Globolinks!, children's opera

    Description by Anne Feeney

    This playful opera, though today performed almost exclusively in English, was first performed in German as Hilfe, Hilfe, die Globolinks at the Hamburg Staatsoper, the house that commissioned it, on December 21, 1968. It was not performed in English until August 1, 1969, at the Santa Fe Opera (a house known for premiering new works). The opera combines ominous elements with comedy, but there are no real moments of horror; as Menotti declared, the Globolinks are "sinister, but with a touch of humor." The sound effects that portray these villains are more bizarre than menacing (and to a contemporary audience, may be more reminiscent of bad science fiction movie and television effects than anything else) and the Globolinks themselves are so campy that they might well have emerged from an episode of the Batman television series or The Avengers (the originals in both cases). Emily's music, though, is imbued with the sincere naïveté of other children in Menotti operas, such as Amahl, with her direct lyricism and hints of poignancy. The interplay between Madame Euterpova and the other characters, particularly Dr. Stone, is broad farce both dramatically and vocally, with an almost Rossinian sense of exaggeration at times. (While Madame Euterpova is something of a mouthpiece for Menotti, declaring that the world has forgotten how to sing and how to value music, he also makes her faintly ridiculous and egotistical to keep her from becoming too preachy.) Aside from its entertainment value, the opera stands as a kind of musical manifesto for Menotti. He was concerned that the new interest in electronics and radical experimentation in music would replace melody and accessible music drama, so it is no coincidence that the Globolinks are represented by bizarre electronic noises and can be stopped only by music, which is represented by that most traditional of instruments, the violin.

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    1998 Newport Classic 85633