February 5, 2013 |
War is being declared - literally and repeatedly - on stage at the Academy of Music in the acclaimed opera Silent Night , which has much to do with Christmas, though on an anything-but-silent World War I battlefield. Knowing that, audience members at Friday's Opera Philadelphia opening might wonder if they're in the wrong theater: Initially, the opera appears to be, and for some minutes sounds like, 18th-century Mozart. But that opera-within-an-opera, being performed in 1914 Germany, is interrupted by officers of the Imperial Army announcing the outbreak of World War I. Soon, the stage is dominated by a bombed-out church surrounded by German, French, and English encampments.
November 27, 2009
OUR EYES ROLLED at the news Wednesday that a federal appeals court upheld a New Jersey school district's ban on Christmas carols with religious references. Five years ago, a parent sued the Maplewood-South Orange School District over its ban of Christmas carols with religious references. He claimed that the ban violated his children's freedom to worship. The judges in their decision this week disagreed, saying that times had changed, and that "many decisions about how to best create an inclusive environment in public schools, such as those at issue here, are left to the sound discretion of the school authorities.
December 16, 1986 |
What do you know: The apostles of common sense in this matter of "church and state" have won a sweet victory down in Seminole County, Fla. As a consequence, "Silent Night" has survived an assault by its foes, and little children may not be prohibited from singing the most familiar of all Christmas carols in the public schools. The story merits the attention of school officials everywhere, for it emphasizes what the Supreme Court has been saying all along. The constitutional prohibition against laws or official acts "respecting an establishment of religion" cannot be interpreted to ban voluntary, individual religious expressions that in no way are acts of the state.
December 19, 1993 |
Silent night, holy night All is calm, all is bright Round yon virgin mother and child, Holy infant so tender and mild Sleep in heavenly peace, Sleep in heavenly peace It is 2:15 p.m. Christmas Eve in this tiny Alpine farming village of 3,500 that hugs the Austrian-German border. I am trying to keep warm while standing in line, talking to a group of American soldiers who came across the border from Germany to wait in this same queue. Thousands of other tourists, speaking every conceivable language, have been pouring in all day. Normally this little hamlet, dotted by a few snow-sprinkled 18th- and 19th- century pastel houses, doesn't get the world's tourism trade.
December 21, 2001 |
If you thought there was no place like home for the holidays, you obviously forgot about the night scene. Here are some of the clubs with sounds and space for the naughty or nice: Tribecca celebrates Christmas early with the "Ho-Ho-Ho Ball" on Saturday. Louie DeVito, the man behind the "NYC Underground Dance Party" series, makes for "A Very Lifted Xmas" with Chuck Addis, Robbie Tronco, Kurious George, Moon and others at Shampoo on Sunday. It's no silent night Monday - Richie Rich delivers the sounds at Envy.
July 24, 2010 |
Susan Boyle is in the studio recording a Christmas album, according to U.S. retail sources. While specifics are unclear, Sony is targeting it for an October release. Columbia spokeswoman Fran DeFeo confirmed that Boyle is "recording a new album to come out later this year. " Boyle recently announced a competition, called "Susan's Search," to give her fans the chance to sing on the follow-up to her chart-topping debut, "I Dreamed a Dream. " Aspiring Boyle collaborators can enter the competition by uploading a video of themselves singing "Silent Night" to her YouTube page.
November 23, 1990 |
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas everywhere you go in and around Philadelphia - and around the world as well. Most of us won't get to see the festive lights strung across Oxford Street in London. We won't be visiting the Christkindlemarkt in Vienna, or peeking in at Oberndorf, Austria, where Silent Night was composed. No matter. You don't need to dig out your passport or experience jet lag to participate in the spirit of Christmas Around the World. You can sample it right here, thanks to the many immigrants who have enriched this area with their special Christmas traditions.
December 2, 1994
Interned by the British as a youthful political activist in Northern Ireland's Long Kesh prison, Gerry Adams wrote of surviving Christmas without "holly, mistletoe or turkey . . . tinsel or Christmas tree," of how the internees kept the season's spirit alive by singing "Silent Night": Silent night, holy night All is calm, all is bright. Today, nearly two decades later, the lyrics seem especially apt. In Northern Ireland, too long wracked by violence, the nights (and days)
December 23, 2002 |
For all their outward ingenuousness, the popular medieval music group Anonymous 4 smartly conducted a tour of Christmas music that told you a lot about folk music - what it can and can't do, and why serious composers adopt its manner to create a mythic past. The program was titled Wolcum Yule, presented at St. Mark's Church on Friday by the tireless Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, and you could have walked in skeptical. Though a big CD seller, the angelic-voiced female quartet Anonymous 4 (widely nicknamed A4)
October 28, 1993 |
Just when you thought you'd heard it all in political ads - here comes Santa Claus. And the Baby Jesus. And the Third Reich. A candidate for state Superior Court is running two radio spots that basically accuse his opponent of trying to get rid of Christmas. Harrisburg Republican Thomas Saylor's campaign says the ads are factual and fair. His opponent, Democrat Jon Pushinsky of Pittsburgh, calls them "down in the mud. " And Pushinsky calls the ads "anti-Semitic," partly because their background music, the Christmas carol "Silent Night," is in German.