The Telephone, or L'Amour à trois is an English-language comic opera in one act by Gian Carlo Menotti, both words and music. It was written for production by the Ballet Society and was first presented on a double bill with Menotti's The Medium at the Heckscher Theater, New York City, February 18-20, 1947. The Broadway production took place on May 1, 1947, at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre. The Metropolitan Opera presented it once, on July 31, 1965.
Ben, bearing a gift, comes to visit Lucy at her apartment; he wants to propose to her before he leaves on a trip. Despite his attempts to get her attention for sufficient time to ask his question, Lucy is occupied with interminable conversations on the telephone. Between her calls, when Lucy leaves the room, Ben even tries to cut the telephone cord â€” unsuccessfully. Not wanting to miss his train, Ben leaves without asking Lucy for her hand in marriage. But Ben makes one last attempt: He calls Lucy from a telephone booth outside on the street and makes his proposal. She consents, and the two join in a romantic duet over the phone line, at the end of which Lucy makes sure that Ben remembers her phone number.