A cold snowy wintry night did not deter an enthusiastic audience that were wrapped up in the warm and fuzzies of the Harbor Country Opera’s “Christmas at the Acorn” concert last Saturday night. For the 12th year Robert Swan created a program that swept in the Christmas spirit that no one but Robert could have created. He is a genius and especially with his repertoire of eclectic classics that he does with each of his concerts, and the Christmas show was no exception. The audience was humming, singing and smiling the whole time, the Acorn hardly needed a heating system for all the warmth they generated on this wintry night.
With his usual phalanx of super talent, the cast had some familiar faces that have made the Christmas show so successful all of these years. Included were the xophtic twosome of lyric tenors John Concepcion and Warren Moulton, Chicago guys who did not fail to project the delightful songs in solos, duets, and with the rest of the ensemble. The thrilling soprano Christine Steyer and Mezzo sopranos Martha Cares and Dominique Frigo collectively could shatter all cliche misconceptions of operatic voices. Anatoliy Torchinsky, born in Russia, played brilliantly on the accompanying keyboard. Guitarist Nate Herman, a Chicago musician was once a former writer for Saturday night Live and a fabulous musician. On the harp was Ramona Kim playing for her sixth year with the “Christmas at the Acorn.” Of course, Robert Swan added his basso profundo voice and his trademark humor throughout the program.
The cast opened the show with “Hark the Herald Angela Sing” with the audience participation. Moulton then so sang Silver Bells, and later sang “Sweet Little Jesus Boy” superbly. “So Blest a Sight” was sung by Ms. Steyer and Frigo, with Ensemble. Closing for intermission was “Silent Night” with the ensemble and audience.
After intermission was the hysterical “Twelve Days After Chrlsmas” with the sophisticated voice and demeanor of Ms Steyer for the cryptic words of this tongue-in-cheek song.
Comcepcion sang “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santy Claus” that was truly the funniest you’ve ever heard. Herman and the ensemble sang “A Climate Change Christmas” that had a point besides humorous. “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” was sung by the ensemble with Rudolf (a darling dog with horns) coming on stage afterward. It was a great night for all afficianados of the Christmas Spirit.