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Trans-Siberian Orchestra Releases Holiday Rock Opera, <i>The Lost Christmas Eve</i>

For nearly a decade, the New York City-based Trans-Siberian Orchestra has been blending rock with classical music in powerful, theatrical arrangements. The group is known for its rock operas, especially with winter and Christmas themes. The Trans-Siberian Orchestra's latest album in their holiday trilogy is The Lost Christmas Eve.

The Trans-Siberian Orchestra was assembled in 1996, by producer, musician and concert promoter Paul O'Neill. His rock-opera vision was influenced by theatrical artists such as Meat Loaf and Electric Light Orchestra. Paul also incorporates his experience as a guitarist for Broadway musicals Jesus Christ Superstar and Hair.

The core of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra includes former members of the hard rock band Savatage, known for their explosive electric guitar sound. The Orchestra's breakthrough song was "Christmas Eve (Sarajevo 12/24)," inspired by the true story of a cellist who refused to be intimidated by the gunfire in his native city.

The Trans-Siberian Orchestra's latest album, The Lost Christmas Eve, is their first new material in four years, and completes the holiday trilogy of Christmas Eve and Other Stories and The Christmas Attic. The story line is about the sadness and yearning of several characters, a young angel who tries to help them, and eventual reconciliation amid the magic and mystery of the holiday season.

The Lost Christmas Eve features the Trans-Siberian Orchestra's signature blend of rock, classical, Broadway, and rhythm and blues. Producer and arranger Paul O'Neill gathers his musicians and vocalists from the music community in New York City.

"Unlike a rock band, where you lock into one or two singers at best, the Trans-Siberian Orchestra line-up is fluid," he said. "If you need a blues singer or a Broadway singer, you go and find the best singer for that song. Everything is built around the song and the music. And with Christmas music, you're going up against the best of the past 1,200 years. It's a bit intimidating."

For their live performances during the holiday season, the Trans-Siberian Orchestra recruits local symphony ensembles from around the country to join them onstage. The shows include special effects and dramatic narrations with a Broadway flair.

As in the Broadway tradition, the Trans-Siberian Orchestra now has two touring companies who will be traveling to 80 cities in North America for their holiday concert series. Their new album, The Lost Christmas Eve, debuted at Number 26 on Billboard magazine's Albums chart. They've also released The Christmas Trilogy box set, which includes Christmas Eve and Other Stories, The Christmas Attic, The Lost Christmas Eve and a DVD version of their live show, The Ghosts of Christmas Eve.