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Posted October 1, 2010
This isn't an opera but rather a staged oratorio about the Christmas fairy tale. Dawn Upshaw, Lorraine Hunt Lieberson and Willard White sing and tell the story in English, Spanish and Latin. Three countertenors from Paul Hillier's group Theatre of Voices back them up, and the London Voices serves as a chorus. The singers use a lot of hand and body motions to illustrate what they are singing, and they are accompanied in this by three dancers. The dancers also appear in films that are shown on a screen above the stage. The film is done in 3 settings, so you're actually seeing the story in 4 different ways simultaneously. There are no sets or props, and everyone is in street clothes. The sound and picture quality are excellent, and subtitles are in 4 languages. Peter Sellars directs, and he wrote the libretto with Adams. There's a 30 minute feature with Adams, Sellars, Upshaw and conductor Kent Nagano in which they talk about the piece. Enough with the background, this is an excellent oratorio, and the performers do a splendid job of presenting it. Adams' music flows so well that people who don't like ''modern'' music will have no trouble with it. The only problem is the price. Adams' music sells so poorly to begin with that charging half again as much as most classical DVDs will only prevent people from buying it. If you can afford it, it'll be a jewel in your collection.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.