The Sunday Opera: Two Works for Christmas: "Das Christ-Elflein" and "The Gift of the Magi"
The festive season has arrived at the Sunday Opera this week (12/22 3:00 p.m.) with two operas centered on Christmas. The first is “Das Christ-Elflein,” a 1906 work by Hans Pfizner with a libretto by Pfizner and Ilse von Stach which follows the title character’s journey to gain a soul and understand Christmas. Although he is warned against the world of humans by a tree-spirit named Tannengreis, the little elf travels with the Christ Child, who has come back to earth for Christmas, to a human home where a young girl is gravely ill. There, he gains a human soul and takes the place of the girl, saving her life, and travels to heaven with the Christ Child with the promise that he would be allowed to return to earth each Christmastime. The cast includes Helen Donath, Janet Perry, Alexander Malta, and Nikolas Hildebrand.
The second opera is an adaptation of O’Henry’s beloved tale of true love and unselfish giving, “The Gift of the Magi” featuring Aimee Puentes, Tim Krol, and Chand Runyon. We’ll fill the rest of our time together with music of the season performed by legendary performers like Joan Sutherland, Eileen Farrell, Kathleen Battle, and Frederica von Stade who will be joined by Wynton Marsalis, The American Boychoir, Luther Henderson and his Orchestra, and The Bowie Brass.