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The Christmas Revels
in Celebration of the Winter Solstice
Harvard University's Sanders Theatre, Cambridge, MA
Victorian London at the Crystal Palace, the remarkable glass building erected for the Great Exhibition of 1851. A colorful cast of characters, including a harried producer, cheeky street performers, and even composer Sir Arthur Sullivan, are caught up in a scheme to produce a whirlwind Christmas performance fit for a Prince. With grand choral works, traditional carols, snappy Victorian dances, all sorts of music hall entertainments, and a Cinderella "panto" brimming with buffoonery performed by our ready and eager (and very, very talented) 80-member ensemble.
Set in the Celtic region of northwest Spain, the 43rd annual Christmas Revels featured storyteller Jay O'Callahan as Everyman, an allegorical character summoned by Fate to journey to the Santiago de Compostela and then finisterre - the end of the earth - to hear the bells ring on Christmas day. On the way, the delusional pilgrim is knighted by a mysterious child and takes up a quest accompanied by his loyal squire, Sancho, and his gold-minded "guardian angel". Needless to say, colorful encounters - and glorious music- abound!
The 2012 Christmas Revels followed a group of Irish emigrants aboard the RMS Carpathia circa 1907 as they steamed towards New York in search of a better life in the new world. Due to the timing of their journey, they celebrated Christmas at sea, and in doing so, proved through their music, dance and stories, that no matter how far they roam from their homeland, their culture and traditions will live on. Special Highlight: The Lobster Quadrille (Who knew lobsters could dance?)
2011 Celestial Fools
The 41st Christmas Revels found us in a small 16th century French fishing village where the local Guild of Fools were preparing for a great annual feast and holiday pageant to mark the end of the old year and the birth of the new. Mysterious visitors arrived from the East, and the music and singing started. But the mysterious "Boney" had plans to spoil the celebration. With the sun, moon and stars in delicate balance, and three Fools in charge of the transition to the New Year, what could possibly go wrong?
2010 The Ghosts of Haddon Hall
The place is Derbyshire, the year is 1920, and John Manners, the ninth Duke of Rutland, is giving his wife and his children a look at the dilapidated family manse, Haddon Hall, before it's torn down to make room for a new motorway. However, the "Ghosts of Haddon Hall," the first Duke of Rutland and English men and women of all ages, have been celebrating the winter solstice for the past millennium or so, and they're not about to stop now!