About Town

OPERA IN THE ROCK presents The Gift of the Magi

Photo by Wendy Kelly | (left to right) Matthew Tatus, George Mayo & William Alverio

As a extra-special holiday event, Opera In The Rock presents The Gift of the Magi. This four scene chamber opera – with music by David Conte and libretto by Nicholas Giardini – is based on the 1905 holiday short story with the same title by O. Henry. It features a love story between the poor married couple Jim and Della who cannot afford to buy each other presents for Christmas. As a sentimental story about gift-giving with a well-known plot and an ironic ending, The Gift of the Magi opera delivers this classic holiday tale of morals with beautiful singing and a rich orchestral score.

The opera sponsored by Pulaski Heights United Methodist Church and utilizes in the sanctuary with musicians from the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra conducted by Geoffrey Robson. There will also be a “Meet the Kings! Family Fun” event prior to the performance at 6:30pm in the Gathering Hall. For more insight to this heartwarming holiday musical event, we asked Rev. Betsy Singleton Snyder, Pastor of Worship & Community Engagement at PHUMC, a few questions about the event with Opera In The Rock.

Why is The Gift of The Magi an important tale for the holiday season and especially relevant after New Year’s?
On the Christian liturgical calendar, Christmas begins December 25th, and the Twelve Days of Christmas conclude with Epiphany, which always falls on January 6. In many Christian churches, Epiphany is observed on the first Sunday after the new year, and the story of the Magi or Three Kings who visit the Christ child is read in worship.  In the opera, Jim and Della, a poor married couple, can’t afford to buy Christmas presents for one another, and each makes a sacrificial gift in order to show love. The themes of Epiphany and the opera are not really about the gifts, but about the single most important gift we can ever share: LOVE.

How did this collaboration between PHUMC and Opera In The Rock develop?
Kate Sain, executive and artistic director of OITR, mentioned that she had a short opera she’d like to do during Christmas. The Advent (pre-Christmas season) is fairly busy at our church, so the more we discussed it together and with our Director of Music at Pulaski Heights UMC Jim Maase the more we all agreed it would be a wonderful intergenerational gift. We could introduce opera to children and offer additional, beautiful music during what, in the Church, is still the Christmas season, while hosting an event for those in our community who love opera.

This is a family-friendly event. What kind of activities will be available for kids and families before the opera?
At 6:30 pm in our Gathering Hall off of Woodlawn Avenue, we will have tables with crafts to decorate paper crowns and sugar cookie crowns to ice and eat. Kids and families can mingle with and take photos with the Three Kings featured in the opera who will be magnificently dressed.

General Admission is free with a $15 suggested donation benefitting Opera In The Rock’s performances and outreach programming. Childcare is available at the church during the event with RSVP only by calling 501-664-3600 with ages and number of children. For more information about the event call 501-681-9640.

Friday, January 3rd – 7:30 pm – Opera run-time 1 hour, 15 minutes
(Friends & Family Event – 6:30pm)
Pulaski Heights United Methodist Church


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