Armistice Day, Veterans Day, and classical music

Posted on: November 12, 2018

“World War I ended 100 years ago Sunday,” writes Anne Midgette in Friday’s (11/12) Washington Post. “This weekend, the Washington National Opera is opening ‘Silent Night,’ Kevin Puts’s Pulitzer Prize-winning [opera] about the Christmas Truce of 1914, when soldiers in the trenches laid down their arms and sang carols together for a night before resuming shooting at each other. The National Symphony Orchestra will present Benjamin Britten’s ‘War Requiem’ this month…. On Monday, baritone John Brancy and pianist Peter Dugan return with a program called ‘Armistice: The Journey Home’ … also based on the Christmas Truce…. Classical music comes into its own at times of commemoration and mourning…. And classical music, as it’s commonly thought of today, was mostly written in Europe before World War I ended…. Today, when classical music is eager to reassert its relevance to the world at large, this kind of historical presentation appeals to presenters…. Monday’s concert [by Brancy and Dugan] is co-sponsored by the General Delegation of the Government of Flanders to the United States. This kind of extramusical buy-in is a sign that a program has meaningfully connected with its subject: making people confront and think about World War I.”

Posted November 12, 2018

In photo: The Atlanta Opera’s 2016 production of Kevin Puts’s opera “Silent Night,” about the Christmas Truce of 1914. The Washington National Opera is performing the opera this month, marking 100 years since the end of World War I. Photo by Jeff Roffman