Christmas, 1914 on the Western Front during World War I. Soldiers on both sides, barley surviving in amazingly harsh conditions, up to their knees in mud and water, enduring the disease and slaughter that was trench warfare. But spontaneously, in several places along the front lines, soldiers on both sides begin singing Christmas songs, then cautiously climb out of their trenches to meet in no-man's land, to exchange good wishes, cigarettes and other small gifts, declaring an unofficial break from the horrors of battle.
Cincinnati Opera is preparing for its first production of Silent Night, based on the movie Joyeux Noel, recounting the story of WWI soldiers celebrating Christmas together in the midst of battle. Composer Kevin Puts tells our Anne Arenstein about this story and how he went about writing this, his first opera.