The Trans-Siberian Orchestra is a rock orchestra from New York City
conceived by Paul O'Neill in 1996. Their style mixes rock, metal and classical music into a famous sound almost anyone should recognize. All of their albums are Rock Operas
and three of these (five albums in total) are Christmas Rock Operas
. They have a lot of members.
In total, there are four composers, 20 vocalists, five guitarists, three bassists, two drummers, four keyboardists and three violinists currently playing with them, studio, live (in two touring groups, an East and a West) or otherwise. They have a legendary stage show because of their spectacular light shows, performing abilities and kick ass music
. Despite being together for approximately 15 years, they've only released five albums as their composers are known perfectionists, having delayed their newest release, Night Castle,
for three years before it was finally released in October of 2009. They also delayed their second stage show, based on their Beethoven's Last Night
album, for almost ten years
before finally putting it on tour in spring of 2010. The stage show for The Lost Christmas Eve
will premiere in 2012, eight years after the release of the album.
They are also popular suppliers of music for overly ambitious homemade light shows, especially their song "Wizards in Winter"
from their 2004 album, The Lost Christmas Eve,
as these videos
- Christmas Eve and Other Stories (1996)
- The Christmas Attic (1998)
- Beethoven's Last Night (2000, their first non-seasonal album)
- The Lost Christmas Eve (2004)
- Night Castle (2009, their second non-seasonal album)
- Dreams of Fireflies (On a Christmas Night) (2012, EP)
- All There in the Manual: The albums all have a complex story tying all the songs together, but you might be surprised to discover this until your first time at the seasonal stage show. These stories can be found in their entirety in the CD liner notes or on the web page.
- Ascended Meme: Remember that video where the guy synchronized his Christmas light decorations to "Wizards In Winter"? It's now the official video for that song. (Don't believe me? Check the preview on iTunes.)
- Book Ends: In the written stories that accompany each album in TSO's Christmas Trilogy, the story begins with the Lord's youngest angel being sent on a mission to Earth. At the end of the story, the Angel returns to Heaven and presents the Lord with what he had found, and the Lord smiles at him in approval.
- Concept Album: All five of their albums are of the Rock Opera variety.
- Darker and Edgier: One would imagine a Christmas album to be full of cheer and feel-good sentiment, but TSO's albums have just the slightest bite to them. For example, "Christmas Eve And Other Stories" deals with the conflict in Bosnia (then a household name on CNN); in "The Lost Christmas Eve," the Businessman's mute son works with crack babies.
- Even relative to the examples above, Night Castle is Darker and Edgier than their previous albums, dealing with a genocide in southeast asia, and having entire songs about suicide, torture, and the horrors of combat. Oh, and the first main character dies in captivity on Disc One!
- Despair Event Horizon: When the man from The Lost Christmas Eve lost his wife during childbirth and learned that his son would be permanently brain damaged, he went through a major one of these. Turning from a happy and idealistic man into a bitter and broken one.
- Epic Rocking
- Fanservice: All the female members are very attractive.
- Heel Realization / Heel-Face Turn: The old man in The Lost Christmas Eve goes through this when he finally meets his son in person.
- Tran-Do in Night Castle when he realizes how far he's strayed from his Confucian upbringing and ideals.
- Instrumentals: Much of their material.
- Loads and Loads of Characters: 41 current members with 20 musicians as former members, arguably the largest band to hold major popularity.
- Marty Stu: Invoked. In "The Lost Christmas Eve," the older man was the most perfect guy to ever walk the face of the earth. Tropes Are Not Bad, in this case: he had it all for so long that his wife's Death by Childbirth and his son's mutism (from prolonged lack of oxygen to the brain) utterly destroyed his world. I Have No Son ensues.
- Non-Indicative Name
- Public Domain Song: Two very popular remixes of Canon in D Major, though damn if Trans-Siberian doesn't try to take down any DMCA violation (read: uploading Christmas Canon to YouTube for the enjoyment of others).
- Rage Against the Heavens: When the man from The Lost Christmas Eve learns that his son (who was brain damaged by oxygen deprivation during his birth) will probably never learn to walk or speak, he screams toward Heaven, saying that if man was made in God's image, he sees nothing of God in his son. He then gives his son over to the care of a state-run facility.
- Rock Opera: Again, all five albums.
- Saving Christmas: Though not as overt as most examples. The common thread of TSO's first three albums is an angel being sent from Heaven and tasked with finding one example of genuine goodness on Christmas Eve. Given that he comes to modern-day Earth (usually America), it takes him a long time to find something.
- Serial Escalation: How much more extreme can the light shows get?
- The Movie: The Ghosts of Christmas Eve, which boasted performances by Michael Crawford and Jewel and starred Ossie Davis as the caretaker of an old movie theater.
- The Scrooge: The older man in The Lost Christmas Eve, especially his song 'What is Christmas'.