Silent Night is an opera in two acts by composer Kevin Puts and librettist Mark Campbell, based on the 2005 film Joyeux Noël, directed by Christian Carion and produced by Nord-Ouest Production. Commissioned by Minnesota Opera with co-producer Opera Company of Philadelphia, it opened on November 12, 2011 at the Ordway Theater, St. Paul Minnesota to great critical acclaim and standing-room-only houses for the entirety of its run. The opera is sung in English, German, French, Italian and Latin.¹
It was the winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize in Music.
Here’s a brief clip of “Sleep” from the opera.
‘We’re here because we’re here’: in memory of The Battle of the Somme
‘We’re here because we’re here’ was a UK-wide event commissioned by 14-18 NOW, conceived and created by Turner Prize-winning artist Jeremy Deller in collaboration with Rufus Norris, Director of the National Theatre. Produced by Birmingham Repertory Theatre and the National Theatre, in collaboration with 26 organizations.²
Thousands of volunteers took part in a UK-wide event on Friday 1 July 2016, as a modern memorial to mark the centenary of the Battle of the Somme. 19,240 men were killed on the first day of the battle in 1916 – the bloodiest day in British military history.
‘we’re here because we’re here’ saw around 1400 voluntary participants dressed in First World War uniform appear unexpectedly in locations across the UK. Each participant represented an individual soldier who was killed on that day one hundred years before.
The participants wore historically accurate uniforms, representing 15 of the regiments that suffered losses in the first day of the Battle. The soldiers did not speak, but at points throughout the day would sing the song ‘we’re here because we’re here’, which was sung in the trenches during the First World War. They handed out cards to members of the public with the name and regiment of the soldier they represented, and, where known, the age of the soldier when he died on 1 July 1916.
Each participant represented an individual soldier who was killed on that day. The work is partly inspired by tales of sightings during and after the First World War by people who believed they had seen a dead loved one.
The daylong work ran from 7am to 7pm and covered the width and breadth of the UK, from Shetland to Plymouth. Sites they visited included shopping centres, train stations, beaches, car parks and high streets – taking the memorial to contemporary Britain and bringing an intervention into people’s daily lives where it was least expected.
¹ Quoted material from the official Silent Night website.
²Quoted material from the official “We’re here because we’re here” website.