Becoming Santa Claus, the fourth opera by composer and librettist Mark Adamo, was recorded at the Winspear Opera House in December 2015. Now, it has made it through the first round of Grammy nominations in the categories of best composition, best opera recording and best engineering.
The Dallas Opera production was recorded in high-definition and released on DVD and Blu-Ray in September. It features Dallas Opera music director Emmanuel Villaume conducting the Dallas Opera orchestra in the world premiere of Becoming Santa Claus.
On behalf of the Dallas Opera, general director and CEO Keith Cerny commissioned Adamo to write a holiday opera in 2013. Cerny praises Adamo's work.
“The superb libretto infused this project with genuine wit and joy from the very beginning, and it was incredible to see it brought to life on the Winspear stage with an outstanding cast, fabulous production design by Gary McCann, stage direction by Paul Curran, and music director Emmanuel Villaume at the podium,” he says.
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Adamo’s first opera, Little Women, based on the novel by Louisa May Alcott, premiered at Houston Grand Opera in 1998 and has become one of the most frequently programmed American lyric works of the last 15 years. Next, Lysistrata, commissioned by Houston Grand Opera, premiered in March 2005. Adamo’s third opera, The Gospel of Mary Magdalene, had its world premiere in 2013 at the San Francisco Opera.
For Becoming Santa Claus, his fourth opera, Adamo takes the familiar story of Santa and reimagines him as a spoiled young prince. Prince Claus hears of the birth of a baby and attempts to impress the newborn with an assortment of the latest toys before discovering that love is the most treasured gift of all. Becoming Santa Claus combines all the requisite holiday icons.
“This unique holiday offering, so distinct from other holiday-themed operas and Broadway productions, deserves all the attention it has earned from The Recording Academy," Cerny says. "We can only hope that the special qualities we see in Becoming Santa Claus will be recognized by our peers throughout the recording industry.”
Nominees for the 60th annual Grammy Awards will be announced Nov. 28.