Showing posts with label Christmas show. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Christmas show. Show all posts

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Mission City Opera's Christmas Show Preview Offers Taste of Michael Taylor's New Opera

If you had been among the audience in the Santa Clara Central Library's Redwood Room on November 17, you would have been among the luck few to hear first-ever performances of music from Truce of Carols, a new opera by Mission City Opera Associate Conductor Michael Taylor. "We're getting to see the birth of this new work," is how one member of the audience put it.

The one-act Truce of Carols tells the touching story of the spontaneous 1914 WWI Christmas ceasefire that began with a German soldier crossing no-man's-land with a lighted Christmas tree for the British. In addition to a recording of Truce of Carols' soaring, melodic overture, Soprano Erin Lamb, who sings the role of Constance, performed two appealing arias from the opera, Writing Home and the work's signature piece, I'll bring you Lavender and Peonies.

In his libretto, Taylor drew on Stanley Weintraub's 2001 book, Silent Night – The Story of the Christmas Truce to create a rich tableau that spans the poignant – the Germans and English together burying their fallen comrades – to the light-hearted – the soldiers' Scots vs. Saxons soccer game – to the [profound] – singing a traditional carol, first in German, then English, then together. "The humanity of Christmas brought them together," Mission City Opera founder Sharon Kaye told the audience.

Kaye also shared the story of how the opera came to be written. "Michael Taylor came to me last February with this idea. First he wrote the beautiful aria, I'll bring you Lavender and Peonies. The whole opera evolved out of it. All the roles were written specifically for each singer. And Mission City Opera was the company that brought this to life."

Santa Clara is unusual for a city of its size in having a profession opera company, and founder Kaye gives the City kudos for its support. "Santa Clara provides us with our beautiful facilities for rehearsals and performances – for free," Kaye told the audience. "That's what makes it possible for us to be in business. Tickets pay for only a third of the cost of putting on an opera."

Performances of Truce of Carols and Amahl and the Night Visitors are Saturday, Dec. 5, 2009 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday Dec. 6, 2009 at 3:00 p.m., at Mission City Center for Performing Arts, 3250 Monroe St. (at Calabazas, next to Wilcox High School) in Santa Clara. Tickets are $16 for children under 12, and $26 to $46 for adults. For tickets or information, visit, call (408) 749.7607, or email, or

Supernumeraries are needed for the Christmas show. If you're interested, call (408) 749-7607 or email Like to sing? Mission City Opera's all-volunteer chorus welcomes new members for its February 2010 production of Giacomo Puccini's La Boheme. Contact the company for more information.