The Pulitzer Prize-winning opera Silent Night, which was written by Kevin Puts, a faculty member at the Peabody Institute at Johns Hopkins, will make its television premier Friday night on PBS.
Silent Night was Puts' first opera, and premiered at the Minnesota Opera in 2011 to sold-out audiences. One year later, it won the Pulitzer.
Based on the 2005 French film Joyeux Noel, Silent Night tells the story of the 1914 Christmas Eve truce made between German, French, and Scottish soldiers. As the story goes, the soldiers tried to negotiate a one-night cease-fire among themselves as they remained holed up in trenches near Belgium. True to the story, Puts' opera has the characters singing in their native French, English, and German languages (in addition to Italian and Latin). The libretto is by the Grammy Award-nominated lyricist Mark Campbell.
When Puts' Pulitzer was announced, Jeffrey Sharkey, director of the Peabody Institute, expressed his excitement for his colleague in an article published by The Baltimore Sun. "It couldn't have happened to a nicer guy," Sharkey told The Sun. "Kevin is one of the easiest colleagues to get along with. He cares deeply about his students, while at the same time juggling a prestigious international career."
Puts has been a member of the composition faculty at Peabody since 2006. Previously, he taught composition at University of Texas at Austin.
Before he became known for opera, Puts established himself as a talented composer of instrumental works. In Baltimore, his pieces Network and River's Rush have been performed by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.
Silent Night airs Friday, Dec. 13, at 8 p.m. on PBS. The production, which was filmed during the original run in Minnesota, was directed by Eric Simonson, and conducted by Michael Christie.