December 1, 2022
Hannukah Opera "The Miracle of Light"

Add “The Miracle of Hanukkah” Opera to Your
Holiday Traditions, Now That It’s (Finally) Been
Composer Victoria Bond has been conducting a Christmas favorite, Menotti’s Amahl and the
Night Visitors, with Chicago Chamber Opera for just over a decade. But since Bond is Jewish, “I’ve
thought for many years that it would be nice to have a theatrical production for Jewish kids during
the holiday season,” she said.
Composer Victoria Bond
Her new opera, The Miracle of Hanukkah, has its fully-staged premiere Sunday, December 11, 2016
at Chicago’s Royal George Theatre following several years of development with the Young People’s
Chorus of New York City, which commissioned the work.
“Music and worship started out together,” Bond explained. “Music is right there in the Torah with
David playing the harp. In Jewish worship, prayers are not spoken, they are sung.” Given the
important role of music in the Jewish faith, it’s surprising, Bond said, that “there are no other operas
about Hanukkah that I know of. I wanted to fill a niche.” Bond has composed other pieces on Jewish
themes, including a recent oratorio called The Reluctant Moses which recounts the Biblical story of
Moses encountering God in a burning bush.
When first considering an opera about Hanukkah, Bond said, “the miracle of Hanukkah – oil burning
for eight days – it’s not as dramatic as what happens as the miracle in Amahl. In that story, the title
character is a disabled boy who is healed and no longer needs to use a crutch. We Jews don’t throw
away crutches. The idea of an Amahl wouldn’t work.”
Instead, she decided to update the story of Hanukkah. “The opera takes place in a contemporary high
school classroom. The teacher is telling her class about the story of Hanukkah and different
traditions, and one student asks, ‘Why do I have to learn about Hanukkah? I’m not Jewish.’ The
teacher explains that the story of Hanukkah has something to teach everyone.”

Back to List
Back to Top