The third performance of Julia Bullock’s season-long Met residency, titled Nativity Reconsidered, is an imaginative celebration of the Christmas spirit. Bullock oversaw the adaptation of John Adams’s Christmas oratorio, El Niño, for a chamber setting: rewritten for the American Modern Opera Company—of which Bullock is a founding core member—and four soloists, El Niño shines as a worthy modern alternative to the traditional holiday staple, Handel’s Messiah. According to The New York Times, Bullock’s soaring vocals “felt at times larger than the chapel itself” and her skillful programming elevated El Niño “to something much more powerful.”

While the sacred intimacy of The Met Cloisters chapel enhances the traditional nativity mood, Bullock’s dedication to diversity—incorporating texts by female poets from Latin America, inviting performers of color as the soloists, and focusing the revised libretto on Mary and motherhood—ensures that her Nativity Reconsidered stands out amongst the myriad Christmas performances in New York this winter and complements her Met residency’s commitment to providing “a voice for beings and stories that have been made silent” (Now at the Met).