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Once Upon a Winter

Dec 20 – 26, 2021

There’s no gift more precious than the time we spend with our loved ones. Embrace the true meaning of the holidays with Once Upon a Winter, an original holiday special co-produced by Opera Theatre and Nine PBS. This feel-good TV event will make your heart sing!

When adult siblings Hazel, Keith, and Mary-Ellen get snowed in during a family visit, they couldn’t be more annoyed. Determined to make the best of the situation, Mary-Ellen begins hanging Christmas decorations all over the house. The holiday spirit proves impossible to resist, as the Davis family all begin to sing their favorite festive tunes and reconnect over childhood memories. Featuring a cast of acclaimed singers from Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, this touching holiday special is sure to become an instant classic!

Event information

Running Time
1 hour


Broadcast Channel
Nine PBS


Conceived and Written by Tara Branham

Cast & Creative Team

Tara Branham

Stage Director

Timothy Cheung

Music Director/Pianist

Angel Azzarra


Meridian Prall


Anthony León


Kyle Miller


Hans Tashjian


Musical Selections

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
Hugh Martin, Composer
Ralph Blane, Lyricist

Walking in the Air
Howard Blake, Composer and Lyricist

Deck the Halls
Thomas Oliphant, Lyricist

“Tutti i fior” from Madame Butterfly
Giacomo Puccini, Composer
Luigi Illica & Giuseppe Giacosa, Librettists

Count Your Blessings (Instead of Sheep)
Irving Berlin, Composer and Lyricist

Here We Come A-Wassailing
English Traditional

You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch
Albert Hague, Composer
Theodor “Dr. Suess” Geisel, Lyricist

Sure On This Shining Night
Samuel Barber, Composer
James Agee, Lyricist

Noche de paz (Silent night)
Franz Xaver Gruber, Composer
Joseph Mohr, tr. Federico José Pagura, Lyricists

“Ebben?… Ne andrò lontana” from La Wally
Alfredo Catalani, Composer
Luigi Illica, Librettist

I’ll Be Home for Christmas
Walter Kent, Composer
Kim Gannon, Lyricist

Ma’oz Tzur (Rock of Ages)
Jewish Traditional

Auld Lang Syne
Scottish Traditional
Robert Burns, Lyricist

In the Bleak Midwinter
Gustav Holst, Composer
Based on a poem by Christina Rossetti

“Evening Prayer” from Hansel and Gretel
Engelbert Humperdinck, Composer
Adelheid Wette, Librettist

Someday at Christmas
Ron Miller & Bryan Wells, Composers and Lyricists

“Que les songes heureux” from Philémon and Baucis
Jules Barbier & Michel Carré, Librettists

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
Ralph Blane, Lyricist

Produced in partnership with