New Orleans Classical Holiday Concerts Preview
This December, there is no shortage of concerts for fans of vocal, orchestral, and chamber music in New Orleans and its environs. Here’s a glimpse of the musical bounty being offered to help get you into the holiday spirit.
7:30 p.m. on Thursday, December 10 at the Orpheum Theater
For over 25 years, the Crescent City’s premier all-volunteer chorus has performed Frederick Handel’s oratorio Messiah, arguably the best-known and most popular choral work in the repertoire. This year, the annual holiday tradition continues in the newly restored and aurally gratifying Orpheum Theater. The concert features members of the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra with soloists Amy Pfrimmer, Givonna Joseph, Dana Wilson, and Ivan Griffin. Music Director Steven Edwards conducts the SCNO. Tickets range from $25-$75.
December 10 – 13
8 p.m. on Thursday, December 10 to Sunday, December 13 at the Marigny Opera House
The city’s resident contemporary ballet company presents “Christmas Concerto,” a production featuring three holiday-themed premieres choreographed by Maritza Mercado-Narcisse, Nikki Hefko, and Donna Crump. Accompanying the ballet, Francis Scully conducts the New Resonance Orchestra in performances of Arcangelo Corelli’s “Christmas Concerto” and two concerti gross by Handel. Tickets are $30 and $20 for students and seniors.
December 12 & 13
7:30 p.m. on Saturday, December 12 at the Orpheum Theater
2:30 p.m. on Sunday, December 13 at the Orpheum Theater
Guest conductor Ron Spigelman leads the LPO in two concerts featuring an impressive array of special local guests, including the Roots of Music program, singer Alexis Marceaux (of Alexis and the Samurai), the New Orleans Children’s Chorus, and the Archdiocese of New Orleans Mass Gospel Choir. The holiday spectacular will also feature the talents of New Orleans’ all-male dance crew, the 610 Stompers. The program will include performances of popular Christmas carols, Leroy Anderson’s A Christmas Festival, “March of the Toys” from Victor Herbert’s Babes in Toyland, and much more. Tickets range from $20 – $99 for adults, $10 for children.
3 p.m. on Sunday, December 13 at Holy Name of Mary Church (500 Eliza St. in Algiers Point)
Now celebrating their 50th anniversary of Early Music performances in the city, Musica da Camera presents their final of three holiday concerts with women’s vocal ensemble Vox Feminæ. The performance features festive works from the Middle Ages, Renaissance, and Baroque. Concert is free and open to the public. If you can’t make it to the performance, you can tune into Milton G. Scheuermann, Jr. and Thaïs St. Julien’s weekly Continuum broadcast for an hour of recorded Early Music on WWNO New Orleans Sunday mornings at 6 a.m.
December 17 & 18
7:30 p.m. on Thursday, December 17 at First Baptist Church, New Orleans
7:30 p.m. on Friday, December 18 at First Baptist Church, Covington
Maestro Carlos Miguel Prieto leads select LPO musicians joined by NOVA Masterworks Chorale for the LPO’s annual Baroque Christmas concert. The program begins with Benjamin Britten’s Ceremony of Carols, which consists of nine carols preceded by a Professional, ending with a Recessional, and an interlude for solo harp in the middle, showcasing LPO harpist Rachel Van Voorhees Kirschman. LPO flutist Patti Adams solos on Vivaldi’s “Concerto for Piccolo in C major,” and the concert will conclude with selections from Handel’s Messiah. Carlos Miguel Prieto will present a free pre-concert talk for both events at 6:30 p.m. Tickets range from $20 – $75.
7:30 p.m. on Friday, December 18 at the Marigny Opera House
Crescent Chamber Artists mark their first full performance season with a concert featuring Antonín Dvořák’s “Moravian Duets, Op. 20,” Gabriel Fauré’s “Poème d’un jour, Op. 21,” and contemporary composer Jake Heggie’s “Here and Gone.” Vocalists Ruth Ann Chadwick, Joanna Tomassoni, Dana Wilson, and Jake Penick perform with pianist Steven Edwards. Concert is free and open to the public with a suggested donation of $20.
December 19 & 20
7:30 p.m. on Saturday, December 19 at Jefferson Performing Arts Center (Metairie)
2 p.m. on Sunday, December 20 at Jefferson Performing Arts Center (Metairie)
At 123 years old, The Nutcracker continues to serve as an introduction to audiences of all ages to the world of ballet, and Tchaikovsky’s classic score has become an essential soundtrack to the holidays. Featuring a cast of over 100 dancers and “flying effects” by ZFX, Maestra Cristina Greco conducts the JPAS Symphony Orchestra in the inaugural grand ballet at the Jefferson Performing Arts Center since it opened its doors last summer. Tickets range from $40-$75.