Help, Help, the Globolinks!
Help, Help, the Globolinks! is an opera
Opera is an art form in which singers and musicians perform a dramatic work combining text and musical score, usually in a theatrical setting. Opera incorporates many of the elements of spoken theatre, such as acting, scenery, and costumes and sometimes includes dance...

 in four scenes by Gian Carlo Menotti
Gian Carlo Menotti
Gian Carlo Menotti was an Italian-American composer and librettist. Although he often referred to himself as an American composer, he kept his Italian citizenship. He wrote the classic Christmas opera, Amahl and the Night Visitors, among about two dozen other operas intended to appeal to popular...

 with an original English libretto
A libretto is the text used in an extended musical work such as an opera, operetta, masque, oratorio, cantata, or musical. The term "libretto" is also sometimes used to refer to the text of major liturgical works, such as mass, requiem, and sacred cantata, or even the story line of a...

 by the composer
A composer is a person who creates music, either by musical notation or oral tradition, for interpretation and performance, or through direct manipulation of sonic material through electronic media...

. It was commissioned by the Hamburg State Opera
Hamburg State Opera
The Hamburg State Opera is one of the leading opera companies in Germany.Opera in Hamburg dates back to 2 January 1678 when the "Opern-Theatrum" was inaugurated with a performance of a biblical Singspiel by Johann Theile...

 and first performed as Hilfe, Hilfe, die Globolinks! in a German translation by Kurt Honolka on December 21, 1968 in a double bill with Menotti's Amahl and the Night Visitors
Amahl and the Night Visitors
Amahl and the Night Visitors is an opera in one act by Gian Carlo Menotti with an original English libretto by the composer. It was commissioned by NBC and first performed by the NBC Opera Theatre on December 24, 1951, in New York City at NBC studio 8H in Rockefeller Center, where it was broadcast...

. The opera had its English language premiere on August 1, 1969 in the United States at the Santa Fe Opera
Santa Fe Opera
The Santa Fe Opera is an American opera company, located north of Santa Fe in the U.S. state of New Mexico, headquartered on a former guest ranch of .-General history:...

 in a double bill with Igor Stravinsky
Igor Stravinsky
Igor Fyodorovich Stravinsky ; 6 April 1971) was a Russian, later naturalized French, and then naturalized American composer, pianist, and conductor....

's The Nightingale
The Nightingale (opera)
The Nightingale is a Russian conte lyrique in three acts by Igor Stravinsky. It is generally known by its French name...

. Both premiere productions were directed by the composer. Many of the cast members from the Santa Fe production reprised their roles for the work's New York debut at the New York City Opera
New York City Opera
The New York City Opera is an American opera company located in New York City.The company, called "the people's opera" by New York Mayor Fiorello La Guardia, was founded in 1943 with the aim of making opera financially accessible to a wide audience, producing an innovative choice of repertory, and...

 in December 1969.


Role Voice type
Voice type
A voice type is a particular kind of human singing voice perceived as having certain identifying qualities or characteristics. Voice classification is the process by which human voices are evaluated and are thereby designated into voice types...

German-language premiere cast
Hamburg, 21 December 1968
(Conductor: Matthias Kuntzsch )
English-language premiere cast
Santa Fe, 1 August 1969
(Conductor: Gustav Meier
Gustav Meier
Gustav Meier is the director of the Orchestra Conducting Program at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University. He is also Music Director of the in Connecticut.-Biography:...

Emily, 14 years old soprano
A soprano is a voice type with a vocal range from approximately middle C to "high A" in choral music, or to "soprano C" or higher in operatic music. In four-part chorale style harmony, the soprano takes the highest part, which usually encompasses the melody...

Edith Mathis
Edith Mathis
Edith Mathis is a renowned Swiss soprano and a leading exponent of the works of Mozart. She studied in Lucerne and debuted there in 1956 in The Magic Flute...

Judith Blegen
Judith Blegen
Judith Blegen is an American soprano, particularly associated with light lyric roles of the French, Italian and German repertories.-Life and career:Blegen was raised and attended high school in Missoula, Montana...

Madame Euterpova, the music teacher soprano Arlene Saunders
Arlene Saunders
Arlene Saunders is an American spinto soprano opera singer. After making her operatic debut as Rosalinde von Eisenstein, in Die Fledermaus, with the National Opera Company in 1958, she made her first appearance with the New York City Opera in 1961, as Giorgetta in Il tabarro...

Marguerite Willauer
Dr. Stone, dean of St. Paul's School high baritone
Baritone is a type of male singing voice that lies between the bass and tenor voices. It is the most common male voice. Originally from the Greek , meaning deep sounding, music for this voice is typically written in the range from the second F below middle C to the F above middle C Baritone (or...

Raymond Wolansky John Reardon
Tony, the bus driver baritone William Workman William Workman
Timothy, caretaker of the school tenor
The tenor is a type of male singing voice and is the highest male voice within the modal register. The typical tenor voice lies between C3, the C one octave below middle C, to the A above middle C in choral music, and up to high C in solo work. The low extreme for tenors is roughly B2...

Kurt Marschner Douglas Perry
Miss Penelope Newkirk, the mathematics teacher mezzo-soprano
A mezzo-soprano is a type of classical female singing voice whose range lies between the soprano and the contralto singing voices, usually extending from the A below middle C to the A two octaves above...

Ursula Boese Jean Kraft
Jean Kraft
Jean Kraft is an American operatic mezzo-soprano. She began her career singing with the New York City Opera during the early 1960s, after which she embarked on a long and fruitful partnership with the Santa Fe Opera that lasted from 1965 through 1987. In 1970 she joined the roster of singers at...

Mr. Lavander-Gas, the literature professor baritone Franz Grundheber Clyde Phillip Walker
Dr. Turtlespit, the science professor bass
Bass (voice type)
A bass is a type of male singing voice and possesses the lowest vocal range of all voice types. According to The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, a bass is typically classified as having a range extending from around the second E below middle C to the E above middle C...

Noël Mangin Richard Best
12 children (some of whom are required to sing small solo parts): children's chorus
Globolinks: members of the Corps de ballet


The opening fugue is interrupted by a police bulletin telling us that dangerous creatures known only as Globolinks have landed on earth. A ballet follows accompanied by recorded electronic music, during which the Globolinks are shown invading our planet.

Scene 1

The Beleaguered Children

The Globolinks disable a school bus on a country road as it returns from spring vacation with a load of students. Another radio bulletin informs Tony, the bus driver, and the children that the creatures seem to be allergic to the sound of music. When the Globolinks threaten the bus, Tony first tries to keep them in check with the sound of the bus horn, which scares them temporarily. The students decide to try and reach the school to call for help, but most have forgotten their musical instruments, which could protect them along the way. Only Emily has remembered her violin. She is hesitant to venture out on her own, but after Tony and the other children reassure her, she bravely leaves the bus behind, playing her violin all the way.

Scene 2

The Teachers

In the Dean's office of St. Paul school, Dr. Stone and Timothy are worried about where the children could be. Madame Euterpova interrupts, complaining that the students have left their instruments behind during their spring vacation, even though they had promised to take them home to practice. Because of Dr. Stone's disregard for her music lessons, she threatens to resign. He sees teaching music as insignificant and admits that he cannot even sing himself. He dismisses her and lies down to relieve his "splitting headache", only to hear another radio bulletin warning that "once you are touched by a Globolink, you lose all power of speech" and are turned into one yourself within 24 hours. While he is asleep, the Globolinks come into the office and touch Dr. Stone. He rings the school bell to drive them away. The teachers rush in, only to find that Dr. Stone can speak only in weird, electronic sounds. As they debate what to do, Madame Euterpova appears as a savior in their time of need, and gathers the teachers along with their own musical instruments, including a drum and a tuba. They all march out of the school to locate and save the missing children.

Scene 3

The Rescue

Tony and the students are still waiting in the broken-down bus for Emily to return. The Globolinks no longer fear the sound of the horn and attack again. Just in time, the teachers arrive with their motley band of instruments, and the Globolinks disappear. Emily, who has made her way into the forest, is still missing. Dr. Stone, although almost a Globolink himself, has been taught by Madame Euterpova to sing just one note to keep them at bay. He believes he can help find Emily. They all march off following Dr. Stone as fast as they can.

Scene 4

The Forest of Steel

Emily has lost her way in the forest. Although still playing her violin, she soon falls down in exhaustion. The Globolinks approach her while she is sleeping and break her violin. Emily screams and runs for help, only to find Dr. Stone still singing his one note. She does not understand why he looks and sounds so strange. He has lost his voice and can only stammer "La, la" . He finally completes his transformation into a Globolink and flies away. At this moment, the teachers and students arrive and Emily is finally safe. Madame Euterpova implores everyone to always make music with their hands and breath, as "she leads the little army away, all happily playing their instruments."


Menotti described the Globolinks as "sinister, but with a touch of humor." The electronic sound effects that are heard when the Globolinks appear sound like they are from a bad science fiction film. The creatures themselves are played for camp, not terror. The dialogue between the music teacher and the dean is played as broad farce both dramatically and vocally. Madame Euterpova often serves as Menotti's own conscience, declaring that the world has "forgotten how to sing". But, he also makes her somewhat ridiculous and egotistical so that she does not become too preachy. Menotti was fearful of the new wave of electronics and experimentation in music of the time, wondering whether these styles might eventually replace the drama and melody of traditional opera. To this end, the Globolinks are accompanied by bizarre electronic noises and can only be stopped by real, live music, such as Emily's violin.


The original Hamburg production was filmed by German television in 1969 and was released on DVD February 27, 2007.

Critical reception

Life (magazine)
Life generally refers to three American magazines:*A humor and general interest magazine published from 1883 to 1936. Time founder Henry Luce bought the magazine in 1936 solely so that he could acquire the rights to its name....

 published a review of the 1969 New York City Center production titled "Bleeps in the Night". The article explores some of the themes employed in the opera and the differences between Globolinks and Menotti's 1951 opera for children, Amahl and the Night Visitors
Amahl and the Night Visitors
Amahl and the Night Visitors is an opera in one act by Gian Carlo Menotti with an original English libretto by the composer. It was commissioned by NBC and first performed by the NBC Opera Theatre on December 24, 1951, in New York City at NBC studio 8H in Rockefeller Center, where it was broadcast...

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