Kevin Puts' Pulitzer-Winning Silent Night from Minnesota

William Burden

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New York-based composer Kevin Puts was recently awarded the Pulitzer Prize in music for his first opera, Silent Night. The opera, with libretto written by Mark Campbell, was commissioned and premiered by the Minnesota Opera this past November at St. Paul’s Ordway Theater. Tuesday at 7 pm on Operavore, join WQXR host Jeff Spurgeon when he talks to Puts about composing Silent Night and what it means to win a Pulitzer Prize. Following the interview, we’ll bring you the Minnesota Opera’s complete performance of the opera.

The Pulitzer committee said Silent Night is "a stirring opera that recounts the true story of a spontaneous cease-fire among Scottish, French and Germans during World War I, displaying versatility of style and cutting straight to the heart."

The opera is based on the 2007 film "Joyeux Noel" about the 1914 Christmas Eve truce during World War I. The opera takes place over five days. On the third day, Christmas Eve, the bloodshed came to a halt when all sides laid down their weapons to celebrate the holiday and bury their dead.


Conductor: Michael Christie

The German Side

Nikolaus Sprink, an opera singer: William Burden

Anna Sørensen, his lover: Karin Wolverton

Lieutenant Horstmayer: Craig Irvin

Kronprinz, son of Kaiser Wilhelm II: A. J. Glueckert

The Scottish Side

Jonathan Dale: John Robert Lindsey

William Dale, his brother: Michael Nyby

Father Palmer: Troy Cook

Lieutenant Gordon: Gabriel Preisser

The British Major: Joseph Beutel

The French Side

Lieutenant Audebert: Liam Bonner

Ponchel, his aide-de-camp: Andrew Wilkowske

The General: Ben Wager

Madeleine, Lt. Audebert's wife: Angela Mortellaro