Christmas with Kaufmann Jonas Kaufmann. Image: Gregor Hohenberg
A pair of glittery red heels fills the shot; a baseball bat swings ominously. The camera pans up to reveal the bat-wielder as Mariah Carey, clad in a dazzling ballgown. The singer creeps out of the house and smashes a pumpkin: Halloween is over and Christmas can begin! How did Carey come to be in charge of our calendars? Because, for lots of people, the festivities only really start when they hear All I Want for Christmas is You, the 1994 hit that made the American singer a household name.
For others, it might be John Williams’s evocative soundtrack to Home Alone or the Choir of King’s College, Cambridge singing Coventry Carol. Our annual musical associations quickly become traditions; listening, singing and playing is deeply integrated into celebrations.
Given that most events were cancelled last December, this will be the first time that most of us are partaking in live musical Christmassy treats for two years – so we’re doing a Mariah and fully embracing the season. Here are some potential dates for your diary.
Tchaikovsky’s much-loved wintry ballet (below) once again sweeps across theatres. Birmingham Royal Ballet are performing it at Birmingham Hippodrome (November 20 until December 11); Scottish Ballet at the Edinburgh Festival Theatre (December 1-31) and the Royal Ballet at Covent Garden, London (until January 8).
James Macmillan’s Christmas Oratorio
When the Scottish composer’s new Christmas Oratorio was premiered in Amsterdam last December, it was streamed from an empty hall. This year, the fizzing, eclectic work gets its first UK performance by the London Philharmonic Choir and Chorus at Southbank Centre, London (December 4).
The famous oratorio is a firm festive fixture – and there’s no ensemble that can sing it better than The Sixteen. Harry Christophers and his choir perform everyone’s favourite choral masterpiece at St Martin-in-the-Fields, London (December 7).
Hallé Christmas Family Concert
The Hallé takes young audiences on a journey to find Santa’s Merry Melody, which has been stolen by naughty trolls. The performance at Bridgewater Hall in Manchester features music from ET and The Nutcracker (December 12).
Christmas with Kaufmann
Heartthrob tenor Jonas Kaufmann is best known for his roles in Wagner operas, but when he visits London’s Royal Albert Hall (December 16) it is to sing something a little different. Accompanied by the German State Philharmonic, he performs favourites from his native Germany and classics by crooners such as Bing Crosby.
Countdown to Christmas
The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic hosts a children’s Christmas party from its own Philharmonic Hall (December 18-19). There’s an appearance from the orchestra’s Children’s Choirs – and possibly Santa himself. Participation is warmly encouraged!
Mozart Symphony Orchestra performs the soundtrack to the classic animation, with 12-year-old Alice Mackenzie singing the Walking in the Air solo. London (Cadogan Hall, December 21) and Cheltenham (Cheltenham Town Hall, December 23).
John Rutter’s Christmas Celebration
The UK’s beloved choral composer has released five new carols this year (I Sing of a Maiden, Collegium Records). He conducts the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra for a sing-along event at the Royal Albert Hall (December 9).
This article is taken from The Big Issue magazine. If you cannot reach local your vendor, you can still click HERE to subscribe to The Big Issue today or give a gift subscription to a friend or family member. You can also purchase one-off issues from The Big Issue Shop or The Big Issue app, available now from the App Store or Google Play.