• Silent Night at Piedmont Opera

    Our beloved company Piedmont Opera will present in Winston-Salem, NC, the extraordinary American contemporary opera Silent Night, a 2012 Pulitzer Prize winner, with music by Kevin Puts and libretto by Mark Campbell.

    The performances are scheduled for Friday October 27 at 8 PM, Sunday October 29 at 2 PM, and Tuesday October 31 at 7:30 PM, at the Stevens Center. Tickets ($20 to $98) can be found by clicking [here] (after you click, scroll down to find the links to the three dates).

    We are aware that many in our community are not deeply in love with contemporary opera. Well, they shouldn't be any less excited about Silent Night than about any of the beloved works of the standard repertory.

    Unlike many other contemporary operas, Silent Night has had enormous success everywhere it's been shown with many sold-out performances in the United States (Saint Paul, Philadelphia, San Jose, Atlanta, Kansas City, Detroit, and Cincinnati) and abroad (Calgary and Montreal, Canada; Frankfurt, Germany; and Wexford, Ireland). It is melodious, very theatrical, poignant, and just darn beautiful.

    Its source material is the excellent Oscar-nominated 2005 movie Joyeux Noël (or Merry Christmas, which will be shown in Winston-Salem at the a/perture cinema on October 22 at 3 PM - tickets [here]) depicting a real-life episode of World War I in December 1914, when an unofficial Christmas truce on the Western Front allowed soldiers from opposing sides to gain insight into each other’s way of life.

    A leading concept in the movie and the opera is the power of music, since the truce begins thanks to a German soldier who is an opera singer, who performs the title song out loud, leading soldiers to adopt the Christmas spirit in which killing the enemy ceases being an acceptable goal. The voices of Rolando Villazón and Natalie Dessay were used in the movie.

    Opera Lively will be publishing new interviews with the Piedmont Opera cast and the set designer, and a review. There are already excellent interviews available; they are gathered [here].

    We also have available the material from the time when we attended the opera in person in Philadelphia in 2013. This coverage is extensive and one of our most complete to date, any opera considered. It includes a very detailed exclusive interview with the composer Kevin Puts, which is a must read. The coverage includes many video clips, and a link to the full audio track of the opera. To consult this material, click on the links below:

    The Exclusive Opera Lively Interview with Composer Kevin Puts: [here]

    Opera Lively's review of the Philadelphia performance: [here]

    Opera Lively's review of the Cincinnati performance: [here]

    Opera Lively's article on the opera, featuring the full synopsis, reviews, an interview with the singer who created one of the roles (Lieutenant one of the singers Liam Bonner, several video clips, links to other essays, and links to an audio file of the complete piece: [here]

    Dear readers, this is a rare opportunity to witness a phenomenal work. If your are not very fond of contemporary opera, this piece might very well change your mind.

    Besides, it will be performed by Piedmont Opera, which means guaranteed high quality. For the last five years, we've been attending most shows by this gem of a company, and they never disappoint. The lead female role, for example, will be sung by Jodi Burns, a soprano who is so good that we titled our review of Piedmont Opera's Carmen, The Micaëla Show, thanks to her outstanding performance of that role.

    Maestro James Allbritten is conducting, and we know how good he is. So, do not miss this show. If you are at driving distance of Winston-Salem, NC, it's way worth the ride. I'd say it's worth the plane ticket as well if you are farther away.

    To wet your appetite, here is a video clip of one of the choral pieces:

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