As if Christmas isn’t a time to give their golden tonsils a rest, opera singers have frequently taken the (sometimes dubious) decision to regale us with a treasury of carols and seasonal songs. There are a few plums and several more turkeys (you decide!) in this Christmas cracker of an outbreak of tinselitis from the operatic community! So, deck the halls with festive fioritura, pour a large glass of mulled wine (medicinal purposes only) and enjoy Mark Pullinger‘s compilation from Opera BritanniaTowers.
Renée Fleming and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir serenade us in Lo how a rose e’er blooming:
And you thought Jan Sandström’s arrangement of Praetorius was slow…
Franco Corelli sings O Holy Night… or perhaps Nessun dorma would sum it up more appropriately:
Meanwhile, his tenorial rival, Mario del Monaco, is subtlety personified in Panis Angelicus:
Renata Tebaldi – voce d’angelo – launches into Greensleeves, here under the guise of What child is this?:
Along with Tebaldi, no herald angel can have sounded as glorious as Leontyne Price – Hark! the herald angels sing:
Montserrat Caballé tackles Mary’s Boy child and it’s difficult to say who wins. Crossover was rarely so… idiomatic.
Angela Gheorghiu wisely offers us a silent night and watches her then beau, Cezar, giving his own, inimitable counter-tenor take on White Christmas:
Two for the price of one. Giorgio Tozzi and Rosalind Elias in Pat a pan:
Was Joan Sutherland’s coloratura ever put to better use than in Deck the halls with boughs of holly? Okay, perhaps her Lucia di Lammermoor just shades it.
Many singers have had a crack at White Christmas (see above), but nobody’s ever eclipsed Bing Crosby. If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em, as Bryn Terfel duets with the man himself:
With three tenors (Plácido Domingo, José Carreras and Luciano Pavarotti) in the sleigh, there’s probably not a lot of room let on board. Which is probably just as well…
(Watch Carreras look askance at Big Lucy!)
And finally, staying with seasonal transport, did someone call for Baron Ochs aboard a sleigh in a dodgy Santa outfit? You’d better believe it! Kurt Rydl at the double – Jingle Bells and Santa Claus is coming to town. Not my town, I hope…
Merry Christmas, everyone!