By Bobby Franklin
I recently had the chance to take in a preview of the The Christmas Revels: A Venetian Celebration of the Winter Solstice. It was a very enjoyable evening. The Revels have been a tradition for five decades and this year’s version takes us to Renaissance Venice. The preview attended was just marvelous and only small taste of what all be presented on the stage at Sanders Theater in Cambridge. Music, dancing, and audience participation make for a great evening for celebration to welcome Christmas. It is an event where the Italian in all of us comes out.
WHO LET THE DOGE OUT?
2017 Christmas Revels Synopsis: The Doge of Venice has had it. It is time for the solstice and the Feast of the Seven Fishes and everyone wants his opinion – merchants, lawyers, politicians, artists, even the fishwives want him to rule on who makes the best spaghetti Bolognese. So he is going to take a little unauthorized vacation and meet some of his more lowly subjects. The wild adventures ahead involve reckless actors, jailbreaks, itinerant musicians, English Morris men and maybe even the Spanish Armada! A beloved holiday tradition since 1971, The Christmas Revels features luscious music, tricky sets and gorgeous costumes, superb musical guests, a tuneful, dancing chorus, some familiar Revels touchstones, and street kids who sing like angels.
Our 100-member ensemble includes musician and song leader David Coffin, The Revels Chorus of adults and children, a brilliant group of vocalists and musicians from the Early Music community (Sophie Michaux, Gideon Crevoshay, Lysander Jaffe, Daniel Meyers, Simon Martyn-Ellis, Nathaniel Cox, and Fabio Pirozzolo), The Serenissima Dancers, our acting troupe, Commedia Buffo (old friends Noni Lewis, Billy Meleady, Mark Jaster and Sabrina Selma Mandell), and Richard Snee as the Doge. The Cambridge Symphonic Brass Ensemble and The Pinewoods Morris Men also join us onstage at Sanders this year. Besides the carols and rounds we’ll ask you to sing, performance highlights include the Bal do Sabre, an Italian Sword Dance, plus familiar Revels touchstones like the Abbots Bromley Horn Dance, Susan Cooper’s classic poem, The Shortest Day, and our signature piece, Lord of the Dance, which will literally have you dancing in the aisles!
The Christmas Revels design team includes Jeremy Barnett, set design; Heidi A. Hermiller, costume design; Jeff Adelberg, lighting design; William Winn, sound design and Kelli Edwards, choreographer.
For more information and to buy tickets go to www.revels.org. Phone 617-496-2222 (Tue-Sun 12-6pm) or IN-PERSON at the Harvard Box Office at Farkus Hall, 10 Holyoke Street, near Harvard Square (Tue-Sun 12-6pm).