December 15, 2011.By Brad Richason, City Pages.
As a launch to the 2011 holiday season, local arts aficionados received a magnificent gift with the world premiere of Silent Night, the Minnesota Opera's stirring take on a remarkable historic event in which opposing WWI forces set aside their weapons for an observation of yuletide tranquility. The inspiring storyline, however, is not entirely new to area stages. Since 2007, Theater Latté Da and Cantus have pooled their formidable talents into All Is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914. Conceived by Theater Latté Da's founding artistic director, Peter Rothstein, the play enlists a trio of performers (Matt Rein, David Roberts, and Alan Sorenson) to recite first-person narratives drawn from the extraordinary event, including diary entries, letters from the front, and recorded testimonials. Musical arrangers Erick Lichte and Timothy C. Takach further amplify the poignancy by alternating the readings with a multinational songbook of Christrnas carols and traditional folk songs. Channeled through the impeccably layered vocals of chamber ensemble Cantus, songs combine with stories in paying solemn tribute to a universal humanity indivisible by dogmatic ideologies and national identities. In these ever combative times, such unbroken harmony represents nothing less than a genuine yuletide miracle. $27.50-$35. 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday; 2 p.m. Saturday; 1 and 6:30 p.m. Sunday. 710 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis; 612.339.7007. Through Sunday.