San Diego Opera In Conjuction With
Bodhi Tree Concerts and SACRA/PROFANA

All Is Calm: the Christmas Truce of 1914

By Peter Rothstein
Musical arrangements by Erick Lichte and Timothy C. Takach

At the Balboa Theatre
868 Fourth Avenue @ E Street
Gaslamp - San Diego, CA 92101

Based on real-life events during World War I along the Western Front when soldiers from France, England, and Germany ventured into no-man’s land on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Soldiers exchanged food and gifts, swapped prisoners and performed burials, and played football and sang Christmas carols. The truce was unofficial and unsanctioned and soldiers were ordered back to fight for another bloody four years.

A beautifully profound A Capella chamber opera, All Is Calm is a testament to humanity and unity, and features text from letters from soldiers who lived through war alongside familiar holiday and military music from the countries engaged in battle in World War I. This family-friendly production is new to San Diego Opera and is a co-presentation with Bodhi Tree Concerts and SACRA/PROFANA, featuring local talent and directed by the newly appointed Director of Opera Theatre in partnership with SDSU, Alan E. Hicks.

Production Support provided by Sigrid Pate.

Please join us one hour before each performance for a pre-opera lecture by Dr. Nicolas Reveles and stay after the performance for a Talk-Back with cast and creative team.

The approximate run time is 70 minutes with no intermission.


The Western Front, Christmas, 1914. Out of the violence comes a silence, then a song: a German soldier steps into No Man’s Land singing Stille Nacht (Silent Night). Thus begins an extraordinary night of camaraderie, music, and peace. During the early months of WWI on the battle fields in Belgium, thousands of men put down their guns and left the protection of trenches to meet their enemies in “no man’s land”. They exchanged gifts of tobacco, rum and chocolates, even photographs of loved ones. They sang songs, played a game of soccer, and buried each other’s dead. Upon orders from above, they eventually returned to their trenches and re-instigated a brutal war that would last four more years. The retelling of this story reminds us of the atrocities of war, our common humanity and for a few brief moments, the hope of a peaceful future.

The music ranges from trench songs to patriotic and sentimental tunes, as well as Christmas music from the participating countries. The text is taken from a wide range of sources including letters, journals, official war documents, poetry, grave stone inscriptions – even an old radio broadcast.

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