RICKY IAN GORDON (b.1956): The House without a Christmas Tree.
Catalogue Number: 10U069
Description: The House without a Christmas Tree is a family-friendly holiday opera, one of Houston Grand Opera's many commissions given as part of their ongoing "mission ... to advance the operatic art form to serve an ever-evolving audience ...". Gordon, with his elegant tonal idiom and gift for vocal writing, drawing on the traditions of classical artsong and opera and of music theatre and Broadway. Royce Vavrek's witty, direct libretto, based on the novel by Gail Rock (who enthusiastically endorses the project), offers a little slice of domestic Americana. A father, grieving the death of his wife in childbirth, cannot endure the sight of a Christmas tree because of the memories it evokes, oblivious to the effect that this is having on his precocious daughter, who meanwhile is going through the friendships, rivalries, tribulations and growing pains of childhood. It all works out in the end, as fondly remembered by the daughter, now a successful writer in New York, in an introduction and epilogue. Gordon's easy gift for melody and instantly accessible vernacular musical storytelling make him the ideal composer for a modern, unthreatening, user-friendly work like this; a beautifully crafted, gently moving Hallmark movie on stage. Libretto included. Lauren Snouffer, Heidi Stober, Patricia Schuman (sopranos), Daniel Belcher (baritone), Houston Grand Opera Orchestra and Juvenile Chorus; Bradley Moore.