Minnesota Opera’s production of Kevin Puts’ Silent Night, a company commission which earned its composer the 2012 Pulitzer Prize in Music, broadcasts on WXXI-TV on Friday, December 20, 2013 at 9 p.m.
Minnesota Opera presented the world premiere of Silent Night in November, 2011 at the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts in Saint Paul, Minnesota. It was composed by Kevin Puts with libretto by Mark Campbell, based on the screenplay for Joyeux Noël by Christian Carion for the motion picture produced by Nord-Ouest Production. The opera recounts a miraculous moment of peace during one of the bloodiest wars in human history. On WWI’s western front, Scottish, French and German officers defy their superiors and negotiate a Christmas Eve truce. Enemies become brothers as they share Christmas and bury their dead. William Burden starred as the soldier whose voice inspired peace – if only for a day.
Silent Night was conducted by Minnesota Opera’s Music Director Michael Christie and staged by Academy Award-winning director Eric Simonson. Silent Night, which was recently honored with a regional Emmy nomination, was the first commission of Minnesota Opera’s New Works Initiative, a landmark program designed to invigorate the operatic repertoire with an infusion of contemporary works.
“A major objective of the New Works Initiative is to see that the new works we produce enter the repertoire and reach an audience far beyond our own local market,” said President and General Director Kevin Ramach. “One strategy was to record and distribute some of these new operas to amplify their reach to new audiences in our community and worldwide. Working with the talented director Joe Brandmeier, Minnesota Opera developed a new capacity for capturing the essence of these new works on stage, and we’re very excited that millions of Americans have the opportunity to watch this Pulitzer Prize-winning opera in December.”