Bold. Brave. Brilliant.

Arizona Opera Brings Pulitzer Prize-Winning “Silent Night” to Phoenix and Tucson

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

The WWI-era story, based on true events, delivers a poignant message of peace and empathy

PHOENIX (Feb. 13, 2019) — Arizona Opera, the state’s leading opera company, is bringing the Pulitzer Prize-winning opera “Silent Night” to Arizonans for the first time this March.

Based on true events, “Silent Night” tells the story of the Christmas Eve truce that occurred in 1914 during World War I. Mere months after the war began, more than 100,000 British, French and German soldiers participated in a spontaneous ceasefire to celebrate the holiday together in a soul-stirring moment of warmth and compassion.

Created by composer Kevin Puts and librettist Mark Campbell, this celebrated opera premiered in 2011 and won the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Music for its incredible beauty and impact. Since then, “Silent Night” has been produced by opera companies around the world.

“We believe the powerful message of ‘Silent Night’ resonates more today than ever before,” said Arizona Opera President and General Director Joe Specter. “We’re proud to be debuting this award-winning and timely opera in Arizona, to remind ourselves that people have the ability to find common ground, no matter how profound the enemy lines that divide us.”

Kevin Puts, who has been hailed as one of the most important composers of his generation, comments on how this opera speaks to the human condition: “There are scenes in ‘Silent Night’ that speak to us all — a young lieutenant imagining his wife back at home, comforting a child he has never met; a German officer torn between his sense of duty and his sense of passion; a young French man who risks great danger just to see his mother one last time. These are feelings and motivations we can all understand.”

Directed by Michael Shell, who brings a new perspective to this production said, “The story of ‘Silent Night’ — a captivating, engrossing, brilliant story in its own right — allows us to look back at one of the most objectively horrific moments in the history of the modern world with the clarifying lenses of hindsight and humanity, which effectively illuminates our mutual desire to avoid repeating these very same mistakes today.”

The gripping opera is sung in five languages — English, German, French, Italian and Latin. Arizona Opera is one of seven U.S. opera companies producing “Silent Night” this season, directly following this past fall’s centennial celebration of Armistice Day.

“Silent Night,” part of the Marlu Allan and Scott Stallard Modern Masterworks Series, will be at Symphony Hall in Phoenix March 1-3 and Tucson Music Hall in Tucson March 9-10. For more information or to purchase tickets, please visit

About Arizona Opera

Arizona Opera, now in its 47th season, produces fully-staged operas, concerts, and collaborative programs throughout the state of Arizona each season, and is among only a handful of companies in the U.S. that regularly performs in more than one city. Arizona Opera elevates the transformative power of storytelling through music, cultivating community and strengthening a state and people as adventurous and diverse as the place they call home. Since its inaugural year in 1971, Arizona Opera has produced more than 175 fully-staged operas and concerts. The company's artistic history is rich with a blend of operas traditional repertoire featuring baroque, bel canto, and verismo works, turn-of-the-century masterpieces, operettas, and American operas.