Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

Chicago Opera Theater Presents Family-Friendly Holiday Opera BECOMING SANTA CLAUS


Meet composer Mark Adamo and members of the cast and creative team at free “Close-Up” event at Beverly Arts Center on Dec. 8.

Chicago Opera Theater Presents Family-Friendly Holiday Opera BECOMING SANTA CLAUS

Chicago Opera Theater, Chicago's foremost producer of contemporary and re-imagined opera, continues its 2021-2022 season with the Chicago premiere of the seasonal treat, Becoming Santa Claus, in three performances only, December 11, 17 & 19, at the Studebaker Theater, 410 S. Michigan Avenue, in the Fine Arts Building. Debuted by the Dallas Opera to much acclaim in 2015, the English language opera by American composer Mark Adamo receives a brand-new production by Chicago Opera Theater in what is sure to be a jolly good time for opera goers of all ages.

"Chicago Opera Theater is thrilled to present the holiday gem Becoming Santa Claus to Chicago audiences." Says COT's Edlis Neeson General Director Ashley Magnus "brimming with holiday cheer and beautiful music, it's a great opera for the whole family- perfect for kids, opera newcomers, and afficionados alike."

In Mark Adamo's acclaimed holiday opera, Becoming Santa Claus, a bratty elf Prince learns the meaning of family, love, and the true spirit of gift-giving. The 90-minute work performed without intermission is sung in English, with English supertitles.

"We continue to fulfill our mission to ensure Chicago has a chance to hear the world's most influential living composers," said Music Director Lidiya Yankovskaya. "A bombastic orchestra, colorful orchestrations, energetic choreography, and a children's bell choir will combine to bring audiences this magical story."

Conducted by Chicago Opera Theater Staley Music Director Lidiya Yankovskaya, Becoming Santa Claus will be directed and choreographed by Kyle Lang in his COT debut. Also making his COT debut is American tenor Martin Bakari, starring in the title role of Prince Claus, the young prince poised to become Santa Claus. He is joined by a talented cast made up of mezzo-soprano Nina Yoshida Nelsen, COT regular mezzo-soprano Leah Dexter, tenor Justin Berkowitz, soprano Amy Owens, bass Matt Boehler, and bass-baritone David Salsbery Fry. The creative team mounting this new production includes scenic designer Steven C. Kemp, lighting & projection designer Driscoll Otto, and costume designer Brenda Winstead.

On Friday, November 19 at 6:00 p.m., cast members from COT's Becoming Santa Claus will give a sneak peek performance during the City of Chicago's Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony in Millennium Park. For more information about the ceremony, visit

On Wednesday, December 8 at 7:30 p.m., Chicago Opera Theater partners with the Beverly Arts Center, 2407 W 111th St. in Chicago, on Close-Up with Becoming Santa Claus, a free event diving deeper into the piece with composer Mark Adamo and featuring performance excerpts by the cast, hosted by the Beverly Arts Center.

Becoming Santa Claus will be performed at the Studebaker Theater, 410 S. Michigan Avenue, Saturday, December 11, at 7:30 p.m.; Friday, December 17, at 7:30 p.m.; and Sunday, December 19 at 3:00 p.m. Tickets start at $45 and are on sale now at

Save money by ordering a two-opera subscription package that includes tickets for Becoming Santa Claus as well as tickets for the world premiere of Quamino's Map presented later in the season. Subscribers also gain access to half-off tickets for COT's Vanguard Program performance of The Beekeeper. To order a subscription, visit

Related Articles View More Chicago Stories

Featured on Stage Door

Shoutouts, Classes & More

More Hot Stories For You