New York City Opera celebrates the holidays with All Is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914 at Sacred Heart University Community Theatre, 1420 Post Road, Fairfield, CT, presented in association with Bodhi Tree Concerts and with the support of Kings Alley. Performances: Wed 12/7 and Thu 12/8 at 7:30pm, Fri 12/9 at 8pm and Sat at 11am (family performance). Tickets are $45 for adults, $25 for children and are available at shucommunitytheatre.showare.com/NewYorkCityOpera.
All is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914 tells the true story of the first Christmas Eve of World War I, when soldiers across the Western Front laid down their weapons to celebrate Christmas together. For 48 hours to more than a week on some battlefronts, soldiers on all sides declared a truce and ate and drank together, played soccer, and sang carols. This beautiful retelling of the events, based on the firsthand accounts of soldiers who lived it, is woven together with traditional carols and patriotic songs, celebrating the unique way that the holiday season can bring us all together.
All is Calm is a holiday show like no other, guaranteed to put the whole family in the holiday spirit, with such favorites as “Silent Night,” “Auld Lang Syne,” “The First Noel,” “O Tannenbaum,” and “Angels We Have Heard on High,” sung a cappella in various languages, including English, German, and French. These traditional songs fostered the spirit of Christmas warmth in the midst of a war, and as a play with music, All Is Calm captures a snapshot of this moment when the war stopped, and these people put aside their differences to celebrate Christmas.
The all-male, fourteen-person cast includes Glenn Seven Allen, Michael Boley, Shelby Condray, Nicolas Davis, Walter DuMelle, John Robert Green, Spencer Hamlin, Andrew Konopak, Dimitrie Lazich, Brian James Myer, Jordan Weatherston Pitts, Timmy Simpson, Michael Sokol, and WooYoung Yoon.
All is Calm is written by Peter Rothstein, with musical arrangements by Erick Lichte and Timothy C. Takach, directed by Richard Stafford and conducted by Juan Carlos Acosta, with dialect coaching by Vanessa Dinning, scenery designed by John Farrell, costumes designed by Stephanie Bauerle, and lighting designed by Susan Roth.
“New York City Opera is thrilled to be presenting All Is Calm this December,” said Michael Capasso, General Director, New York City Opera. “It’s a beautiful and moving work that my friend and longtime collaborator Diana DuMelle – the Director of Bodhi Tree Concerts – introduced me to. We’re excited to be partnering on this new production featuring several members of the original Bodhi Tree production and to begin our collaboration with SHU!”
“A heartbreaking tribute to the men, who, in defiance of their commanders had the courage to affirm their common humanity.”– The New Yorker
“Hands down, the most emotionally moving Christmas show I’ve ever seen.”– Theatermania
About the Artists
Juan Carlos Acosta is a critically acclaimed American conductor specializing in contemporary vocal music who has led world and regional premieres of choral works by Anthony Davis, Saunder Choi, Sarah Kirkland Snider, Kim André Arnesen, Brandon Waddles, and many others. He served as chorus master for the live world premiere of the film Star Trek: Beyond (Michael Giacchino) and the live premiere of music from the television series The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power (Bear McCreary). He has also conducted masterworks by Brahms (Ein deutsches Requiem), Haydn (Lord Nelson Mass), Menotti (Amahl and the Night Visitors), Handel (Messiah), Respighi (Lauda per la Natività del Signore), Bach (Magnificat), and Duke Ellington (Sacred Concert), and served as musical director and conductor for six productions of All Is Calm: the Christmas Truce of 1914, including San Diego Opera’s award-winning production, which was hailed as “excellent” by Broadway World, “masterfully conducted” by the San Diego Union-Tribune, and “nothing short of amazing” by OperaWire. Acosta is the Artistic Director of the San Diego-based chamber choir SACRA/PROFANA, which recently released its second full-length album “A Longing for Christmas” with Grammy award-winning producer Peter Rutenberg.
Richard Stafford made his New York City Opera debut in 2017 as director and choreographer of the American premiere of Antonio Literes’s Los Elementos. He was immediately re-engaged and directed and choreographed the company’s critically acclaimed 2018 double bill of Rameau’s Pigmalion and the American premiere of Donizetti’s Pigmalione. Additional NYCO credits include choreography for Turandot (2018 with Opera Hong Kong) and, in 2019, choreography for Dear Erich and Stonewall. His Broadway credits include choreographer for In My Life at the Music Box Theatre, associate choreographer for Aspects of Love at the Broadhurst Theatre, and dance supervisor for Cats at the Winter Garden Theatre. Off-Broadway, he was choreographer for A Tree Grows in Brooklyn at St. Clements and director/choreographer for Castle Walk for the New York Musical Festival. Internationally he was director/choreographer for The Full Monty and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat in Mexico City; Cats in Copenhagen, São Paulo, and Rio de Janeiro; choreographer for Jesus Christ Superstar in Mexico City; Evita in Sydney; and Cats in Mexico City and Buenos Aires. He has been choreographer for national tours of Cats, My Fair Lady, and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Mr. Stafford won the Barrymore Award for outstanding choreography for La Cage aux Folles at the Walnut Street Theatre and the NYMF “Outstanding Choreography” award for Castle Walk.
About New York City Opera
Founded as “The People’s Opera” by Mayor Fiorello La Guardia in 1943, New York City Opera (NYCO) has remained a critical part of the city’s cultural life. Launching the careers of dozens of major artists, presenting engaging productions of both mainstream and lesser-known operas alongside commissions and regional premieres, NYCO has continued to endure as a uniquely American opera company of international stature with a distinct identity and singular mission: affordable ticket prices, a devotion to American works, English-language performances, the promotion of up-and-coming American singers, and seasons of accessible, vibrant and compelling productions intended to introduce new audiences to the art form.
Stars who launched their careers at New York City Opera include Plácido Domingo, Catherine Malfitano, Sherrill Milnes, Samuel Ramey, Beverly Sills, Tatiana Troyanos, Carol Vaness, and Shirley Verrett, among dozens of other great artists. New York City Opera has also presented such talents as Anna Caterina Antonacci and Aprile Millo in concert, as well as its own 75th Anniversary Concert in Bryant Park.
New York City Opera forged a path of inclusion and diversity in the arts. It was the first major opera company to feature African American singers in leading roles (Todd Duncan as Tonio in Pagliacci, 1945 and Camilla Williams in the title role of Madama Butterfly, 1946); the first to produce a new work by an African American composer (William Grant Still, Troubled Island, 1949); and the first to have an African-American conductor lead its orchestra (Everett Lee, 1955).
A revitalized City Opera re-opened in January 2016 with Tosca, the opera that originally launched the company in 1944. Outstanding productions since then include: the world premieres of Iain Bell and Mark Campbell’s Stonewall, commissioned and developed by NYCO), legendary director Harold Prince’s new production of Bernstein’s Candide; Puccini’s beloved La Fanciulla del West; and the New York premiere of Daniel Catán’s Florencia en el Amazonas — the first in NYCO’s Ópera en Español series. Subsequent Ópera en Español productions include the New York premiere of the world’s first mariachi opera, José “Pepe” Martinez’s Cruzar la Cara de la Luna, Literes’s Los Elementos, and Piazzolla’s María de Buenos Aires. NYCO’s Pride Initiative, which produces an LGBTQ-themed work each June during Pride Month, includes such productions as the New York premiere of Péter Eötvös’s Angels in America and the American premiere of Charles Wuorinen’s Brokeback Mountain.
New York City Opera continues its legacy with regular main stage performances at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Rose Theater, an acclaimed summer series in Bryant Park that brings free performances to thousands of New Yorkers annually, and revitalized outreach and education programs at venues throughout the city that are designed to welcome and inspire a new generation of opera audiences.
New York City Opera:
About Bodhi Tree Concerts
Now celebrating its eleventh season, Bodhi Tree Concerts, based in San Diego, CA, is focused on fulfilling its mission of performing intentional acts of kindness through music. Founded and directed by Diana and Walter DuMelle, the group hires exclusively San Diego artists to inspire community engagement, philanthropy, and enlightenment via an eclectic and dynamic range of musical events. Through its more than 35 concerts, the group has donated more than $45,000 to 40+ charitable organizations. Bodhi Tree Concerts won a coveted San Diego Bravo Award in 2013, a Best of Fringe Award in 2014, a Best of 2014 and 2015 from SanDiegoStory.com, a Critics Choice Award in 2015 for its SD Premiere of Tears of the Knife, a Best of Fest and Best Male Performer in an Opera or Musical: San Diego International Fringe Festival and a Craig Noel Award for Best Special Event for the San Diego premiere of 8 Songs for a Mad King, and a second Craig Noel Award in 2018 alongside San Diego Opera and Sacra/Profana for their collaborative production of All is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914. www.bodhitreeconcerts.org
About Sacred Heart University Community Theatre
As the second-largest independent Catholic university in New England, and one of the fastest-growing in the U.S., Sacred Heart University is a national leader in shaping higher education for the 21st century. The SHU Community Theatre operates in partnership with Sacred Heart University to provide world-class entertainment to Fairfield residents and University students, faculty and staff. SHU offers nearly 90 undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and certificate programs on its Fairfield, Conn., campus. Sacred Heart also has satellites in Connecticut, Luxembourg and Ireland and offers online programs. More than 9,000 students attend the University’s nine colleges and schools: Arts & Sciences; Communication, Media & the Arts; Social Work; Computer Science & Engineering; Health Professions; the Isabelle Farrington College of Education; the Jack Welch College of Business & Technology; the Dr. Susan L. Davis, R.N., & Richard J. Henley College of Nursing; and St. Vincent’s College. Sacred Heart stands out from other Catholic institutions as it was established and led by laity. The contemporary Catholic university is rooted in the rich Catholic intellectual tradition and the liberal arts, and at the same time cultivates students to be forward thinkers who enact change—in their own lives, professions and in their communities. The Princeton Review includes SHU in its Best 387 Colleges–2022 Edition, “Best Northeastern” and Best Business Schools–2021 Edition. Sacred Heart is home to the award-winning, NPR-affiliated radio station, WSHU, a Division I athletics program and an impressive performing arts program that includes choir, band, dance and theatre. www.sacredheart.edu