Barn Opera to Present American Premiere of Andrew Ager’s ‘A Christmas Carol’

By Chris Ruel

On December 21, Barn Opera will present the first of a two-part Christmas Special.

Part One features the American premiere of Canadian composer Andrew Ager’s 30-minute operatic adaptation of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.” The program will stream for free on the company’s webpage at 7:30 p.m. EST. While there is no paywall for viewing, the company suggests a $10 donation. The premiere will be available on-demand following the initial screening.

Ager’s adaptation is a monodrama for baritone with an ensemble cast. The work deviates from Dickensian tropes, placing the story in a time not unlike our own and juxtaposing aspects of contemporary life with the classic tale. The production stars Barn Opera music director ​Cailin Marcel Manson​ as Scrooge and was self-filmed by cast members at the beginning of December. Barn Opera’s Artistic Director, Joshua Collier, spearheaded the production, concept, and editing.

The Barn cast includes tenor Ryan Mangan​ (Bob Cratchit); ​tenor Joshua Collier (Jacob Marley); ​soprano Nadia Marshall​ (Ghost of Christmas Past); ​and baritone Nicholas Tocci​ ​(Ghost of Christmas Present) with a chorus of ​Maria Whitcomb​, ​Hilary Collier​, ​Erin Grainger​, and Royce Strider​. Originally written for chamber orchestra, the American premiere features Felix Jarrar on piano and Joshua Thompson​ on the horn in a composer-sanctioned reduction.

Part Two is a Christmas Eve sing-along featuring the cast of Barn’s 2019 production, “Amahl and the Night Visitors.” The sing-along will be broadcast on Vermont’s PEG TV as a “telethon-like” program showcasing seasonally appropriate holiday solos. Maestro Cailin Marcel Manson will lead the 45-minute holiday sing-along​ featuring the cast from the Ager production and soprano ​Helen Lyons​.