|Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer|
|production credits unknown|
|Released on 1969|
|US CHART POSITION #176 |
|Find it at GEMM|
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K ronomyth X.MAS: THE MARKSIST REINDEER. Johnny Marks’ brilliant short opera tells the tale of a frozen dystopia where a political pariah (Rudolph the RED-nosed Reindeer) and a disenfranchised worker (Hermey the Elf) escape their serf-like servitude and, with the help of a Western capitalist (Yukon Cornelius) free their fellow outcasts and overthrow the rigid power structure of the past. A scathing political commentary on the post-Stalin Soviet Union, Marks uses the character of Santa Claus to take a parting shot at exiting premier Nikita Kruschev by portrayng Claus/Kruschev as weak and ineffectual, goaded on by a Lady MacBeth-like Mrs. Claus to gorge himself while the elves work tirelessly. Only Hermey (as in “Hear Me”) the Elf sees the injustice in the system, and determines to escape his proleterian existence for the middle-class dream of dentistry. Running parallel in Marks’ opera is the story of Rudolph, who physically manifests the true spirit of the original Russian revolution, a point that the ideologically castrated, second-generation reindeer around him fail to see. Here, Marks is clearly calling for a second Russian revolution, one that will liberate the intellectuals and misfits imprisoned in the labor camps (the “island of misfit toys”) and reintroduce alternative thought into the stagnant pool of conformity that had become the Soviet system. With venture capitalist Yukon Cornelius behind them, Hermey and Rudolph set out across the eerily reminiscent tundra, only narrowly avoiding being conscripted into the sub-proleterian service of the area’s lone and looming employer, the tuna cannery (portrayed by the ravenous Bumble). In the end, of course, Kruschev/Claus discovers at the critical moment of Christmas Eve that his cabinet lacks direction and leadership, and only the “red knows” of Rudolph can guide the country through the blinding uncertainty of the future. Of interest, there are some who have red between the lines and seen the vague outline of a Christmas tale in all of this, in which case you might want to read this review and live on in your blissful eggnogrance.
DECCA CONCERT ORCHESTRA -- orchestra
MAURY LAWS - musical director
HERBERT REHBEIN -- conductor
Stan Francis -- vocals
Burl Ives -- vocals
Janet Orenstein -- vocals
Billie Mae Richards -- vocals
Paul Soles -- vocals
Caroline Prutzman -- art direction
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|REGION||RELEASE DATE||LABEL||MEDIA||ID NUMBER||FEATURES|
|US||1995||MCA Special Products||CD||MCAD-22177|
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