The Christmas Elf

To close the year, I will be performing as a Christmas Elf, but not with a bubble gun outside Hamleys on Regent Street, but as part of a production with The Northern Opera Group. Their Christmas production of Hans Pfitzner’s opera Das Christ-Elflein (The Christmas Elf), will be sung in English using a translation by Ben Crick and Nicola Whatmuff.  I am thrilled to be a part of the opera and will be taking on the role of Elflein (The Christmas Elf).

This opera was new to me and for anyone else unfamiliar with the story it is based on a children’s fairy tale. It tells the story of an encounter on Christmas Eve between a local Christian family and Pagan characters, from German Folkore. Scroll down this post and sprinkle some fairy dust to find a more detailed synopsis.

The music composed by Hans Pfitzner to a German libretto by Pfitzner and Ilse von Stach was originally premiered in 1906. It was later revised by the composer into a two-act opera which premiered in Dresden on 11 December 1917

During the summer of 1917 Pfitzner revised the work as a two-act Spieloper (comic opera). He shortened the play by adapting some of the speaking and silent roles into ones for singers. The revised version continues to be performed occasionally in German-speaking countries and I can’t wait to be a part of this English adaptation in Leeds at Christmas. The opera will be directed by Davis Ward under the baton of conductor Ben Crick.  Illustrator Sophia Watts has been commissioned to create some amazing images to accompany the opera and I cant wait to see them.


Act 1

A forest in midwinter

Elflein, a little elf living in the forest, asks his friend Tannengreis, an old tree spirit, why humans ring bells and sing at Christmas and what it all means. Tannengreis expresses his dislike and mistrust of humans. Frieder appears in the forest on his way to the village doctor. His sister Trautchen is dying and he no longer believes in God. He tells the elf that he too has no time for his questions about Christmas.

Franz and Jochen, servants of Frieder and Trautchen’s father, enter the forest to cut down a Christmas tree and end up having an encounter with Knecht Ruprecht whom they initially assume is a toy seller and then a warlock.

The Christ Child appears and announces that he will bring Trautchen the Christmas tree this year. Elflein is fascinated by him, but Tannengreis warns him to stay away from humans and their religion. After a dance by young men and forest maidens prevents the servants from cutting down a tree, angels appear to announce that it is Christmas Eve, a holy night. The Christ Child leaves for the von Gumpach house. Elflein goes with him.

Act 2

The von Gumpach house on Christmas Eve

Herr von Gumpach scolds Franz and Jochen for not having returned with a Christmas tree. They protest that they have seen the living Christ Child, but he doesn’t believe them and Frieder openly mocks them. Tannengreis comes looking for the little elf and is hidden behind the stove by Frieder. Trautchen is brought into the room, and Knecht Ruprecht arrives with village children to explain the tradition of the Christmas tree.

The Christ Child appears with the little elf bringing the tree for Trautchen but tells everyone that he has also come to bring the sick child to heaven. The elf takes pity on Trautchen and offers to take her place. The Christ Child agrees, grants the elf a soul, and gives permission for him to come back to earth every Christmas to visit Tannengreis. His new name will be “Christ-Elflein” (Christ’s Little Elf).

Christ-Elflein is brought up to heaven by the angels. Trautchen is cured, Frieder regains his belief in God, and Tannengreis is reconciled to humans. All present join in the Christmas celebrations.

There will be two performances on Saturday 21st December at 2:00 pm and 7:00 pm at the Northern Ballet Stanley & Audrey Burton Theatre, Quarry Hill, Leeds, LS2 7PA. You can get tickets here :

If you live in the Leeds area and want to take part come and join in on 18 November at 7:15pm to sing in the chorus of the Christmas Elf. The first rehearsal will be at the Quaker Meeting House at 188 Woodhouse Lane, Leeds LS2 9DX.

Key things to note:

1) It costs NOTHING to take part!
2) You don’t need to have sung opera before and we don’t audition.
3) There will be rehearsals on the following dates:

Mon 18 November 7:15pm

Mon 25 November 7:15pm

Mon 2 December 7:15pm

Mon 9 December 7:15pm

Thur 19 December 6 – 9pm

Mon 16 Dec 7:15pm

Sun 15 Dec 2 – 6pm

Fri 20 December 6 – 10pm

Sat 21 December – Show Day 2pm and 7pm

Any questions, email

63 thoughts on “The Christmas Elf

  1. First things first, Happy Birthday for Monday, Scorpio Buddy, may you have a dream day. As for the Christmas Elf, I hope they’re not going to make you wear such an unflattering costume as the one in the cartoon: very un… distinguished.

    1. Thank you, Martin I hope that you had a super birthday too.
      It’s a cute picture and you have to hope that the costume department have a creative vision. I’m not sure if I’m a male or female elf or gender-neutral 😊. When I think elf I imagine either a woodland elf from the Lord of the Rings like Tauriel or Galadriel, alternatively Cindy Lou in the Grinch Who Stole Christmas, I’m intrigued to see Northern Opera’s vision for the performance.

      All my best wishes

    1. Darn that ocean, we should have a transatlantic virtual chorus like the one that Eric Whitacre did.

      All my best wishes

  2. What a wonderful thing to be able to perform with you. Alas, I otherwise occupied this year. Still, I look forward to hearing all about your experience and of course, seeing the photos. Have fun. Oh, and did I read correctly, your birthday is about to BE? Happy Birthday, from another Scorpio. <3

    1. In my reply to John I said we should have a virtual chorus like Eric Whitacre did. Happy birthday month to you as well fellow Scorpio blogger friend, there’s lots of us 😊, staying power.

      All my best wishes

    1. This is like a dream job I don’t know anyone who loves Christmas as much as I do hehe. A friend said to me that they should hire me at Hamleys they’d sell loads more toys lol.

      Best wishes

  3. Happy Birthday. I wish you a marvelous Monday for your birthday. The Christmas Elf looks like a lot of fun. You have gotten a lot of really great parts this year.

    1. I hope you had a great birthday on the 26th as well Timothy 😊. I haven’t stopped for a breather for a couple of weeks so it was nice as a treat for my birthday to go out for a Chinese meal with my parents, straight afterwards I had to drive back down to London getting home just before midnight (traffic was lighter though so that’s a benefit).
      I’ve been very fortunate this year but being busy I haven’t been able to audition for much for next year catch22!

      Best wishes

      1. Chinese with your parents sounds delightful. That is a catch 22. I just drove into San Diego, California during rust hour. But then again, I think there’s rush hour traffic all the time in California.

    1. Thank you Maria 😊. I’ve been marking out the score and reading the music it’s a lovely sing I can’t think of much better to do at Christmas than a family opera, I’d have loved to have seen one as a child.

      All my best wishes

    1. I know Christmas is my favourite time of the year. I hope that you had a lovely birthday Christine I’ve not been able to keep on top of my blogging this month but I hope you had a fab day. I’ve got some traveling to do soon so I’m hoping I can catch up with everyone then.

      All my best wishes

      1. I had a lovely birthday, thank you. Hope you had a nice one too? I went to Snowdonia for a few days and had some very cold wild swims which I’ve yet to blog about x

  4. Sweet little story. Sounds like a great role 🙂 Happy birthday! From the comments it looks like the room is full of Scorpios (my birthday was a little over a week ago).

    1. It sounds like a lovely opera, I’d not heard of it so I’m looking forward to learning it. I agree about a full room of Scorpios I wonder if there’s a collective noun for that 😊.

      All my best wishes

  5. Wow, c’est génial, bravo superbe projet de Noël ! Best thoughts for You my dear !! And Happy Birthday !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! for tomorrow 🙂

    1. Merci beaucoup mon ami et aussi merci pour mon cadeau. J’adore Noel.

      Mes meilleurs voeux

    1. I was very happy to get this role I keep seeing little elf gifts everywhere hehe.

      Best wishes

  6. Sounds very exciting Charlotte.
    Looking forward to the next instalment, have lots of fun can’t wait for the photo’s..
    A very happy birthday for today. 😘😘

    1. I had a lovely birthday and a great concert in Rochdale. I got home just before midnight last night but the journey took nearly 2 hours less at night so it wasn’t too bad. Hope you had a lovely weekend too.

      All my best wishes

  7. What fun it would be to sing with you! and this sounds like such fun! I actually sang for the first time in public in a loooong time when I was in Ireland – a Celtic tune I had learned many years ago. I love the song and it was so natural to sing it again.

    1. I love Irish folk tunes, one of my favourite things in Scotland was folk night sing-a-longs in the local pub, I had friends that used to just jam there on a regular basis for fun. I’d love to have heard your song.

      All my best wishes

    1. Thank you Lavinia I’m looking forward to starting rehearsals in December.

      All my best wishes

  8. Oh, if only Los Angeles were closer to Leeds and my mezzobasso suitable for something other than yodeling. Sounds like a wonderful role for you, though I would like to see you with a bubble gun (on something less slippery than a stage.)

    BTW, my script recently reached the semifinals at the ScreenCraft Short Film competition.

    1. Haha if it wasn’t so cold on the outdoor roles I’d love to work at Hamleys at Christmas 😊.
      Super news well done on your semi-final place and I’ll have my fingers crossed for you x.

      All my best wishes

  9. Oh, what a lovely story to get to participate in–and you’ve got the best role! Wish Leeds wasn’t so far away–I’d love to see you act in this (how well you’d sing it goes without saying of course). All the best!

    Best regards,


    1. I got my full score in the post the other day it’s lovely music, I’m looking forward to getting to know the role. Thank you my friend I hope we get a chance to catch up again in person.

      All my best wishes

  10. What a lovely way to see the year out! The Christmas Elf sound as though it will be a fun thing for you to do. Well done Charlotte😘😘

    1. Can you remember all those Christmas shows at Bexton 😊. Preparation hehe.

      Best wishes

    1. I agree I hadn’t heard of the opera it sounds like a little gem, the score has just arrived so I can get started before rehearsals start in December.

      All my best wishes

  11. My heartiest congratulations afterwards. All the best, much success and health for you in the new year of your life.
    Scorpions are always a little bit special, I can say it from own experience :).
    I wish you much success with your Christmas opera.
    Best regards

  12. What a sweet sounding event!
    I would make you the most gorgeous Christmas Elf, ever!
    However, I am in Canada. Likewise, I can’t sing, but if I was there, I would go to the chorus tryouts with my tambourine. Best tambourine player, ever!
    Best to you, Charlotte!

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