Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Opera Wednesday

Tis the season, and as a writer at Opera News pointed out some time ago, there is very little opera connected with Christmas other than Amahl and the Night Visitors. The Metropolitan Opera, for instance, seems to rotate an abridged English version of Mozart's The Magic Flute with Humperdinck's Hansel und Gretel, and while each of these has some very pleasant music, they're more of "family" operas, the kind of thing you do for the week between Christmas and New Year's, than anything that's truly seasonal.

So why not turn to Rimsky-Korsakov and his 1895 opera Christmas Eve? Maybe the story isn't about Christmas per se, but it does take place on Christmas Eve, and there's snow! It also has some lovely music, as demonstrated in this suite drawn from the opera. It's conducted by Ernest Ansermet, with the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, in this recording from 1956.

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