Silent Night

Music by Kevin Puts. Libretto by Mark Campbell. Directed by Eric Simonson.
Based on the screenplay for Joyeux Noël by Christian Carion for the motion picture produced by Nord-Ouest Production.

A fascinating true story, Silent Night recounts a miraculous moment of peace during one of the bloodiest wars in human history.

On World War I’s western front, weapons are laid down when the Scottish, French and German officers defy their superiors and negotiate a Christmas Eve truce. Enemies become brothers as they come together to share Christmas and bury their dead. Acclaimed tenor William Burden stars as the soldier whose voice inspired peace among adversaries – if only for a day.

Sung in English, German, French, Italian and Latin with English translations projected above the stage.

A Minnesota Opera New Works Initiative Production. Support innovative opera productions like Silent Night today with a gift to Minnesota Opera!

  • Broadcast Schedule

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  • Digital Program

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  • Synopsis

    War is declared. At a Berlin opera house, the announcement disrupts the careers and personal lives of international opera singers. In a small church in Scotland, it inspires dreams of heroism. In Paris it angers a pregnant wife as her husband takes up arms. With nationalistic songs in the background, the men prepare to leave for war.

  • Cast & Creative Team

    Read more about the performers on the stage and people behind the scenes.


    Mark Campbell is one of the most in-demand librettists working in opera today, recently profiled in Opera News as one of twenty-five people “poised…to become major forces in opera in the coming decade.” Mark has received many prestigious awards for his work. Most recently, Silent Night with Minnesota Opera was honored with the 2012 Pulitzer Prize in Music. 

  • Composed by Kevin Puts

    Winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Silent Night, Kevin Puts has been hailed as one of the most important composers of his generation. His work has been commissioned and performed by leading orchestras in the United States and abroad, including the New York Philharmonic; the Tonhalle Orchestër (Zurich); the symphony orchestras of Baltimore, Cincinnati, Detroit, Atlanta, Colorado, Houston, Fort Worth, Utah and St. Louis; the Boston Pops; the Minnesota Orchestra, which commissioned his Sinfonia Concertante; and by leading chamber ensembles such as the Mirò Quartet, the Eroica Trio, eighth blackbird, the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.

  • Directed by Eric Simonson

    Writer and director Eric Simonson recently directed Silent Night and Wuthering Heights for Minnesota Opera and Rusalka for Colorado Opera. Other directing credits include The Grapes of Wrath at Minnesota Opera, Pittsburgh Opera and Carnegie Hall; numerous plays for Steppenwolf Theatre; and productions at The Huntington Theatre, Milwaukee Rep, Primary Stages in New York, Court Theatre in Chicago, L.A. Theatre Works, The Kennedy Center, City Theater in Pittsburgh, Seattle Rep and San Jose Rep.

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