Becoming Santa Claus


1 hr. 30 min.


1(pic).2(2bcl).0.0/1.1(Dtpt).2.0/timp.2perc/pf(cel).hpd(pf 1/4-tone flat)/str; Children’s Handbell Ensemble in audience: 48 players (4 chromatic octaves)

premiered by

The Dallas Opera

commissioned by

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Becoming Santa Claus

Becoming Santa Claus is my fourth opera, and my first to an entirely original libretto; it imagines Prince Claus, scion of an elfin realm, as the original what-did-you-get-me? Christmas brat (though with good reason,) and traces his growth into the angel of generosity (we’d like to think) he is today. (The Three Magi of Christmas legend materialize as well; I like to think of the piece as a secular Nativity scene bouncing off the sacred one. With Elves.)  The Dallas Opera, which commissioned the piece, launched it in style December 2015: Emmanuel Villaume conducted, Paul Curran directed, Gary McCann designed, and Jonathan Blalock, Jennifer Rivera, Matthew Boehler, Hila Plitmann (queen of the high E’s) Lucy Schaufer, Keith Jameson and twerkmeister Kevin Burdette sang (and danced!) like the champions they are.  It was a delicious experience; the reviews were terrific; and I’m delighted to report that a fantastically well-recorded film was released on DVD and Blu-Ray in September of 2017.

“The resulting work is not a “children’s opera”, but a musically sophisticated fantasy, that explores a 13-year old boy’s psyche.”
Opera Warhorses
“Even when dizzyingly difficult, the angular vocal lines are singable and memorable—the hallmarks of effective opera whether composed by Mozart, Verdi, Gounod, Wagner, or Adamo.”
Voix des Arts
“Adamo creates a completely new legend for his Santa Claus and sets a Pixar-esque opera with an explosion of kaleidoscopic music.”
“It’s merry, it’s bright, and, in the best possible, most imaginative ways, it is very, very Adamo...Claus’s magical childhood kingdom sparkles with mystery thanks to inventive orchestration.”
D Magazine