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Behind the Curtain - Holiday Special

Posted on: December 24, 2021

In this special episode of Behind the Curtain, join LA Opera's Senior Director of Artistic Programs Joshua Winograde and Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artists as they share and dive into their favorite songs and recordings to listen to during the holidays.

Scroll below for full-length recordings featured in this episode.

Joshua Winograde’s Holiday Favorite: 

“Hi, this is Josh Winograde and I wanted to tell you about my favorite piece of holiday music by far which is Linda Eder’s recording of ‘Silent Night’ from her 20-year-old album Christmas Stays the Same. What I love so much about this is that, on one hand, it’s just a really big theatrical recording of a familiar tune that presents it in a new way. That’s all owed to arranger Kim Scharnberg, who has done a lot with Frank Wildhorn (Broadway composer), Linda Eder’s husband. It has a very kind of big golden-era Hollywood musical theater feel to it in terms of scope. When you hear it a bunch of times you begin to realize its actually like really well crafted and kind of sophisticated. It starts with this cool ostinato bass rhythm upon which Linda sings the first verse. Then in the second verse, a gospel choir sings the first verse again while Linda Eder sings the second verse at the same time but in canon on a slight variation of the melody, with very cool harmonies as well. And then in the third verse, you have the choir singing both the first verse and the second verse in canon, that Linda just sang, while Linda does something completely different and adds this descant floating above everything. And then when things just get really big and really complicated and really awesome, then just out of nowhere it kind of skillfully resolves into this very, very simple, very quiet ending, where you’re left with just that original bass pulse rhythm from the beginning and you just press rewind and listen to it again about 7,000 times, or at least that’s what I do. Enjoy!” 

"Silent Night" by Linda Eder (feat. The Broadway Gospel Chorus)

Gabriela Flores’ Holiday Favorite:

“Hello, my name is Gabriela Flores, and I am a Young Artist at Los Angeles Opera. Recently, I had the opportunity to sing Tisbe, the evil stepsister of Cinderella, in La Cenerentola. My favorite holiday song is ‘I’ll Be Home for Christmas’. I think it’s because we singers spend a lot of time away from home and the hope of seeing my family for Christmas, it makes it very special. I love to listen to it with Frank Sinatra.”

"I'll Be Home for Christmas" by Frank Sinatra

Nicholas Roehler’s Holiday Favorite:

“Hello, I’m Nick Roehler. I’m a Young Artist at LA Opera. 'Silver Bells' was written by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans for a movie called The Lemon Drop Kid. It was originally named 'Tinkle Bells' inspired by ringing bells on New York street corners, but you can see why Livingston’s wife convinced him to change the name rather quickly. It has been sung by many artists such as Bing Crosby and Kate Smith. Here’s one of my favorite arrangements sung by Renée Fleming and Kelli O’Hara, I just love how their voices blend together in this recording.” 

"Silver Bells" by Renée Fleming and Kelli O’Hara

Tiffany Townsend’s Holiday Favorite:

“Hello, my name is Tiffany Townsend. I am a soprano and a member of the Young Artist Program at the LA Opera. My favorite Christmas song is The Temptations’ ‘Silent Night’. I grew up listening to The Temptations. The Temptations were one of my mom’s favorite musicians and artists and so I grew up listening to them. This would play around Christmastime all the time so it’s just one of those really, really amazing nostalgic things that I keep listening to every single Christmas. It never really gets old for me.” 

"Silent Night" by The Temptations

Robert Stahley’s Holiday Favorite: 

“Hello, everyone, this is Rob Stahley from the LA Opera Young Artist Program. I wanted to share a Christmas song that’s become one of my favorites over the years. I’ve had to move and travel a lot since I started pursuing this career. Because of that, this song always gets me right in the feels. I know many of us might not have been with family and loved ones last holiday season because of Covid, and I haven’t been home for Christmas in a few years, so this feels extra special this holiday season. I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.” 

"I'll Be Home for Christmas" by Bing Crosby