Gallery: ‘Bending Towards the Light – A Jazz Nativity’

The holiday season was brought to life with a performance of “Bending Towards the Light … A Jazz Nativity” Tuesday, Dec. 13, at St. Mary of Mount Carmel / Blessed Sacrament Parish.

This holiday tradition was presented by Chelsea Opera from New York City along with Central New York’s most acclaimed jazz instrumentalists.

Leonarda Priore is the co-founder and artistic director of Chelsea Opera. She is a Utica native who graduated from Thomas R. Proctor High School in 1971.

“Even in these times of difficulty and challenges, the premise and music of this moving piece reminds us that no matter what obstacles we face, this timeless story and the uplifting music within helps us to rejoice and realize that together we can see the world ‘Bending Towards the Light,” she said.

Composed, arranged and produced by Anne Phillips, “Bending Towards the Light … A Jazz Nativity” is the traditional Christmas story told through the medium of jazz. Through the years many great jazz artists — including Dave Brubeck, Lionel Hampton and Tito Puente — have been a part of it playing the roles of the kings, shepherds and angels.

Performed in full costume, “A Jazz Nativity” is a wonderful combination of theater, jazz and opera.

The performance at Mount Carmel / Blessed Sacrament featured artists from Chelsea Opera and local performers.

Chelsea Opera is a professional opera company in its 19th season that produces fully staged operas with chamber orchestra and other musical endeavors. It was founded in 2004 by Priore and Lynne Hayden-Findlay.