The LDS Conference Center stage was decked out like Sleeping Beauty’s castle for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir’s Christmas concert on Friday — befitting this year’s guests, an opera star whose credits include a high-profile staging of “Camelot” and a beloved actor who shares her name with an ill-fated British queen. SLT
“Once upon a time is now, and ‘our happily ever after’ will come at the end of a Christmas story that only we can tell,” narrator Jane Seymour proclaimed during the evening’s opening processional as dancers in Renaissance garb glided down the aisles. Seymour and baritone Nathan Gunn were as charming and professional a pair of guests as the choir has ever presented, connecting with the crowd in a next-door-neighborly way even as they pulled off their roles with consummate polish. “‘Once upon a time’: That’s how the stories of Christmas begin,” Miss Seymour said in her opening narration. “‘The Little Match Girl,’ ‘The Drummer Boy,’ these are the stories that remind us no matter how things seem to be, everything is possible at Christmas. And so we begin. Once upon a time, from castles and cottages across the land, the people of the earth gather to rejoice.” Every Tabernacle Choir Christmas concert includes an inspirational “story behind the carol.” This year, Seymour shared the story of “Good King Wenceslas” as the choir sang a fine arrangement of the familiar carol by its music director, Mack Wilberg, behind her. In the program’s climax, a sublime rendition by the choir and orchestra of “Silent Night” segued into Miss Seymour’s recitation from Luke 2 of the story of the birth of Jesus, followed, in keeping with tradition, by Brother Wilberg’s exultant arrangement of the French carol “Angels, from the Realms of Glory.”
Bad news is that this event is not broadcast, but will be available on CD and DVD. PBS rebroadcasts the previous year’s concert around the world. The 2011 concert will be available through PBS in 2012. Last year’s concert featuring David Archuleta and Michael York is being broadcast this Christmas. Video from press conference, where Jane talks about Christmas and the experience of taking part in the concert, and short news video from ABC have been added to the archive, as well as photos from the show and press conference.