A Midwinter Night’s Dream

The performers perfected the show during a rehearsal

A rehearsal on Thursday allowed the performers to perfect the show

On this, the shortest, darkest day of the year — the Winter Solstice — rich sounds of traditional Christmas carols and holiday favorites will enliven the long night. This evening’s fifth annual Classical Christmas Concert will showcase stirring melodies and soaring voices, transporting audience members into a peaceful reverie and setting the tone for the coming weeks of celebration.

For many, measures of Christmas music strike (pardon the pun) a chord deep within. The first bars of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker, the opening notes of carols that have been sung for hundreds of years, a chord from modern favorites, bring a flood of memories and emotions. For instance, for me, Away in a Manger, places me right back beside my grandmother’s upright piano in upstate New York. Her home is decorated with traditional, colorful handmade Norwegian tablecloths and flickering candles. Fresh cookies cool on the rack. Despite the frigid weather, all is merry and bright, secure and safe.

This evening at the Sun Valley Opera House, John Mauldin’s evocative tenor will surely stir your own memories. His sister, Leslie Mauldin’s soaring soprano, will take your breath away. The talents of the Hatvani Chamber Ensemble and of pianist and baritone Jed Moss will weave together bits of memory, feeling and meaning to create an unforgettable evening of live music. Add the festive and popular Sun Valley Carolers and I dare you not to lose yourself to the mood.

It takes a crew a full day to assemble the winter wonderland on the Opera House stage

It takes a full day to assemble the winter wonderland on the Opera House stage

The stage in the Opera House has been transformed for the night and mirrors the winter wonderland outside, bringing evergreens, white lights and everything but the snow, indoors. As the two violins, cello and piano play the first strains of music, close your eyes and let the holidays begin in earnest. But don’t get too lost in the moment – a very special guest is expected to take the stage along with the featured performers.

The sun will set today at 4:32 p.m. Before the doors to the concert open at 7 p.m., enjoy the brisk winter evening in the Sun Valley Village. Bundle up and take a walk through the Village Light Festival, where thousands of twinkling lights mimic the stars overhead. The Holiday Window Stroll leads through whimsical depictions of holidays around the world, Norway included. Visit the Gingerbread Village, a 20-by-30-foot scale replica of Sun Valley’s charm. Enjoy a drink or a bite at a Village restaurant or bar. Then make your way to the historic Opera House, take your seat, and surround yourself with the sounds of the season.

Tenor John Mauldin rehearses a favorite carol

Tenor John Mauldin rehearses a favorite carol

Historically, in the northern hemisphere, the Winter Solstice has been a time of celebration and gathering. In different cultures throughout the ages, Yule logs have been burned to light the long, dark night. Neighbors gathered and feasted. This pivot point from which days will again grow longer and warmer has always been a time of renewal, ritual and reflection.

What better way to spend this night than by enjoying your favorite music, performed by consummate professionals and wonderful entertainers? Settle in and enjoy this midwinter night’s dream.

Tickets are now on sale at the Sun Valley Recreation Center, by phone at 208-622-2135 or 888-622-2108, or at the door based on availability. The concert begins at 7:30 p.m.

– RES

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