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Christmas with Flicka
Genre Christmas music
Written by Yanna Kroyt Brandt
Directed by Patricia Birch
Country of origin Austria
Producer(s) Yanna Kroyt Brandt
Running time 58 minutes
Original network PBS
Original release December 1989
part of PBS's Great Performances series

Christmas with Flicka is a 58-minute television concert film starring Frederica von Stade. It is an American-Austrian co-production, shot on location in Austria in 1987.


Part concert, part travel documentary and with a tincture of comedy and fantasy, this 58-minute television movie follows opera singer Frederica "Flicka" von Stade, Broadway singers Rex Smith and Melba Moore and conductor Julius Rudel through a four day Christmas holiday in St Wolfgang, a village on the shores of the Wolfgangsee in the Salzburg region of the Austrian Alps.

The movie begins with von Stade arriving at the village's quayside on the ferry-boat Österreich. She is met by a small, rapt girl and a smaller, less rapt boy, who take her to the home that she will be sharing with them.

The following morning, after helping the children to get dressed, von Stade leads them on a tour of the local shops, visiting a greengrocer, a butcher, a delicatessen, a patisserie, a florist, a gift shop, a traditional Austrian clothes shop, a man who makes candles for Christmas wreaths and a man who carves wooden figures for Christmas crèches. Her purchases offloaded, she accompanies the children on an expedition up and down a misty hillside on a funicular steam railway. In the evening, the children tucked up in bed, she joins Moore, Smith and Rudel on a visit to a tavern for an evening of beer, romance and folk dancing with women in dirndl costumes and thigh-slapping men in lederhosen. On the way home, she and her friends encounter three mysterious, kingly horsemen who seem like a vision of the Magi.

The next day, Christmas Eve, begins with von Stade going with the children to the town square where brass players in the tower of the local church have summoned them for some folk dancing. In the evening, she gives a song recital with Moore and Rudel and meets the village's soprano choir. Once back home with her hosts, von Stade and Rudel tell the children how people came to celebrate Christmas with conifer trees. Then, explaining the history of Santa Claus on the way, she walks with them and the rest of the villagers in a candlelit procession to church for Midnight Mass, before she takes them home again and puts them to bed with a lullaby. A concluding Christmas morning sequence reprises the highlights of the film and offers up several humorous outtakes.


The movie includes twenty-two pieces of music, mostly recorded in studios and lip-synched, as follows:

  • Listen all ye people on earth; von Stade and choir
  • The First Noël, von Stade
  • The Twelve Days of Christmas; von Stade
  • Deck the Halls; von Stade
  • Little Jesus Sleeps; von Stade
  • Folk dance; accordion band
  • God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen; von Stade
  • Greensleeves, arr. Peter Wimmer; Smith
  • À Bethlehem, quand L'Enfant-Dieu, arr. Canteloube; von Stade. Moore and Smith
  • Es ist ein Ros' Entsprungen; brass band
  • Joy to the World; von Stade
  • Les Bergers (Frank Martin); von Stade and Rudel
  • Rise up, Shepherd, and Follow arr. James Elmo Dorsey; Moore
  • O Dieu, O Dieu, arr. Canteloube; von Stade, Moore and choir
  • O Tannenbaum; von Stade
  • O Little Town of Bethlehem; von Stade
  • Chansons Tous le Plus Haut, arr. Canteloube; von Stade
  • He shall feed his flock from The Messiah (Handel); von Stade and Rudel (organ)
  • Alleluia from Exsultate, Jubilate (Mozart); von Stade
  • Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht (Silent Night) (Gruber); von Stade
  • The Twelve Days of Christmas (reprise); von Stade
  • Alleluia from Exsultate, Jubilate (Mozart) (reprise); von Stade


The principal contributors to the film are:

  • Frederica von Stade (singer)
  • Melba Moore (singer)
  • Rex Smith (singer)
  • Kammer Ensemble des Wiener Jeunesse
  • Mixed Choir of St Wolfgang
  • Werner Tripp (flute)
  • Karl Swoboda (zither)
  • Johanna Steinberger (zither)
  • Jan Josef Wnek (keyboards)
  • Frank Edele (guitar)
  • Heinz Hruza (accordion)
  • Mathäus Eisl (accordion)
  • Brass band of St Wolfgang
  • Sonja Schweiger (actor)
  • Adrian Steffny (actor)
  • Beverley Francis (reel dancer)
  • Children's Folk Dance Group of St Wolfgang
  • Trachtenverein Dancers
  • Österreichischer Rundfunk Symphonie-Orchester
  • Julius Rudel (piano, organ, conductor and music director)
  • Yanna Kroyt Brandt (writer and producer)
  • Patricia Birch (director)

Broadcast and home media history

The film was made in 1987, and was first broadcast in the US as part of the Great Performances series in December 1989. In 1998, VIEW Video released it through Image Entertainment as a Laserdisc with 4:3 NTSC colour video and Dolby Digital stereo audio, and also as a VHS cassette. In 2005, Kultur released it on a region-free DVD (catalogue number D2986), again with 4:3 NTSC colour video and Dolby Digital stereo audio. The only literature that comes with the DVD is a list of the film's chapters. None of the home media releases of the film includes any behind-the-scenes featurettes.