ShareThis Page
Home

Group proud fans celebrate Trans-Siberian Christmas

| Sunday, Dec. 13, 2009

Paul O'Neill says the Trans-Siberian Orchestra is glad to have its hands firmly wrapped around "the Holy Grail of touring."

But the symphonic rock band that has become an expected part of Christmas celebrations for the past nine years is planning on hitting the road in the spring and summer with a show featuring music from its new release, "Night Castle."

Before that happens, though, the band will be featuring some of that new material in its Christmas show, which will take the stage Wednesday at Mellon Arena for two performances.

"Whenever you get involved in Christmas shows, you end up being compared to Tchaikovsky, Dickens and Capra," he says about artists whose works have become part of the season. "I never thought our show would be as successful as it is, and I'm not going to complain."

But the guitarist says the band is eager to show it can do more with its mixture of a rock band, backup orchestra and singers.

He is pleased, however, that the band will continue to be associated with Christmas.

"You can ask someone who doesn't know anything about singers from the '30s and '40s and they will know Bing Crosby because of 'White Christmas'," he says. He also suggests many people know of Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky because of holiday performances of "The Nutcracker."

The band's holiday shows have been a steady, and sometimes overwhelming, success since they started in 1999.

• In 2008, the group's concerts drew an overall audience of 1.26 million.

• Shows have increased attendance every year, starting at 15,224 in 1999 and topping 1 million for the first time in 2006.

• Since 1999, tours have grossed more than $200 million and played to 5 million people.

"We were worried last year about gasoline and this year about employment not coming back, but we have sold more than a million tickets already," he says of the current 85-city tour.

But O'Neill says he and other members of the band feel the challenge to go beyond the Christmas trilogy of rock-opera albums for which they are known. He points to works such as "Beethoven's Last Night" as indicative of the band's ability to handle topics other than the holidays.

Good art spans "time and distance," he says, and that is what the band is trying to do with "Night Castle." It is a rock-opera telling the story of a young girl encountering the humanistic thoughts of the 15th-century scholar and theologian Erasmus.

"If one person reads a history book because of it, I win," O'Neill says, "If one person studies Latin, I win twice. And if they have fun doing it, I win once more."

Additional Information:

Trans-Siberian Orchestra

When: 3 and 8 p.m. Wednesday; evening show sold out

Admission: $37.50-$57.50, with some $26.25 seats for the matinee only

Where: Mellon Arena, Uptown

Details: 800-745-3000

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me