dSnow is starting to fall, the nights are getting longer, and holiday trees are starting to go up. To help get you into the spirit, we’ve rounded up some of the most festive and exciting holiday events from across Canada. Whether you’re looking to celebrate this holiday season with a holiday staple like Handel’s Messiah, partake in a family singalong, or watch from the comfort of your coach—options abound.
December 5 & 6 – Brott Music, Messiah
Brott Music Festival returns this year with a rendition of Handel’s holiday classic that features soprano Nathalie Paulin, mezzo soprano Lillian Brooks, tenor Bud Roach, and baritone David John Pike, alongside the Brott Festival Chorus and National Academy Orchestra. Under the baton of Interim Artistic Director Alain Trudel, this masterpiece is an essential part of any holiday season. Tickets are on sale now.
December 6 & 7 – Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, Festival of Carols (Sing-along!)
TMChoir returns with Festival of Carols this December, bringing back the much-anticipated sing-along portion of the concert that includes such pieces as Joy to the World, Silent Night, and O Come All Ye Faithful. The evening also features a brand-new commission from composer-in-residence Dr. Shireen Abu-Khader, Heartbeat. Under the direction of Maestro Jean-Sébastien Vallée, both the TMChoir and TMSingers will bring this program to life, joined by guest artist Isabelle Demers on the organ. More details and tickets are available here.
December 9 & 10 – Newfoundland Symphony, Messiah
Under the direction of Martin MacDonald, the NSO together with its Philharmonic Choir, present a powerful rendition of Handel’s beloved masterpiece. Set in the historic and breathtaking Basilica of St. John the Baptist, this is a holiday tradition not to be missed. Featured voices include soprano Miriam Khalil, mezzo-soprano Danielle MacMillan, tenor Adam Luther, and bass Phillip Addis. Tickets available at the ACC Box Office and here.
December 10 – Vancouver Bach Choir, Messiah
The VBC brings together members of the Vancouver Opera Orchestra and a stellar cast of soloists for a beloved holiday tradition and celebration of choral music. The evening features acclaimed voices: soprano Melody Courage, mezzo soprano Marion Newman, tenor Asitha Tennekoon, and baritone Clarence Frazer. Tickets range from $37-70, available here.
December 10 & 14 – Metropolitan Opera, The Hours (Live in HD)
If you aren’t in New York, head to your local cinema and watch The Met’s world-premiere production of The Hours. Composed by Pulitzer Prize–winning composer Kevin Puts, the show features sopranos Renée Fleming and Kelli O’Hara, and mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato as the opera’s trio of heroines. Canadian Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducts. All live events take place on Saturdays, with special encore presentations of each screening the following Wednesday. View the full schedule of presentations.
December 11 to Jan 8 – Against the Grain Theatre’s Messiah/Complex (Streaming)
The multi-award-winning presentation from AtG returns for an encore! Created in partnership with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO), this 78-minute performance showcases multilingual translations and features a diverse cast of soloists and choirs from every province and territory across Canada, accompanied by the exceptional sounds of the TSO and conducted by Johannes Debus (Canadian Opera Company). Messiah/Complex will be available to stream on-demand from December 11 to January 8, 2022, register to watch here.
December 13 – Orchestre classique de Montréal, Messiah
The historic, beautiful crypt of Saint Joseph’s Oratory will be filled with the joy of Handel’s most well known and richly expressive oratorio this December, as OCM returns with a multifaceted program. Conductor Simon Rivard will lead a stellar quartet of renowned soloists, the Montreal choirs Les filles de l’île will be under the direction of Jacqueline Woodley, and Julien Patenaude will conduct Les chantres musiciens. Featured soloists include soprano Hélène Brunet, contralto Rose Naggar-Tremblay, tenor Zachary Rioux, and baritone Phillip Addis. Tickets range from $30-99, and are available for purchase here.
December 14 & 15 – National Arts Centre, Messiah
Under the baton of conductor Patrick Dupré Quigley, The NAC Orchestra presents Handel’s holiday masterpiece in Ottawa’s majestic Southam Hall. The thrilling program features soloists soprano Mireille Asselin, mezzo-soprano Julie Boulianne, tenor Lawrence Wilford, and bass-baritone Norman Garrett, alongside the Cantata Singers of Ottawa and the Capital Chamber Choir. Tickets start at $29, with some special rates available – buy tickets here.
December 16 & 18 – Hamilton Philharmonic, Messiah
The HPO and Bach Elgar Choir bring Handel’s masterpiece to life in an evening that promises to delight and renew. Led by Music Director Gemma New, this concert features soprano Meredith Hall, mezzo-soprano Jennifer Enns Modolo, tenor Benjamin Butterfield, and bass baritone Giles Tomkins. Concert seating is general admission, tickets are $40 with special rates for 65+ and those 25 & under.
December 16 – Victoria Symphony, Messiah
Associate Conductor Giuseppe Pietraroia leads a cast of talented soloists, the Victoria Symphony, and Vox Humana in a complete performance of Handel’s sublime seasonal masterpiece. The evening will feature a program brimming with dramatic arias, including the iconic Hallelujah Chorus, and acclaimed Canadian voices including mezzo-soprano Allyson McHardy, soprano Nathalie Paulin, tenor John Tessier, and baritone David John Pike. Individual concert tickets are now on sale.
December 16 to 18 – Edmonton Symphony, A Very Merry Pops
ESO’s holiday favourite returns with a joyous program that includes hits such as O Holy Night, Winter Wonderland, The Dreidel Song, selections from The Nutcracker, Carol of the Bells, What Child Is This? , and more. Under the baton of Robert Bernhardt, the evening’s program features soprano soloist Miriam Khalil, the Greenwood Singers, and the Cantilon Chamber Choir, among others. Don’t miss this very merry event – get tickets here.
December 16 & 17 – Tafelmusik, Messiah
Ivars Taurins leads Tafelmusik’s Orchestra, Chamber Choir, and a stellar cast of soloists in the resplendent acoustics of Koerner Hall to present their rendition of Handel’s holiday classic. Don’t miss this long-awaited program, featuring soprano Karina Gauvin, countertenor Christopher Lowrey, tenor Valerio Contaldo, and baritone Brett Polegato. More details and tickets are available here.
December 17 to 21 – Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Messiah
Acclaimed conductor Gustavo Gimeno leads the TSO’s Messiah, buoyed by the majestic sounds of the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir and a stellar cast of soloists including soprano Lauren Fagan, mezzo-soprano Stephanie Wake-Edwards, tenor Michael Colvin, and baritone Elliot Madore. If you’re in Toronto, don’t miss the TSO’s perennial performances of Handel’s powerful and devotional tour de force. Tickets are on sale now.
December 17 – Guelph Chamber Choir, Messiah
Guelph’s “favourite Messiah” returns, offering a celebratory evening of hope and renewal featuring a chamber orchestra, guest soloists, some guests. Don’t miss soprano Sydney Baedke, mezzo-soprano Marion Newman, tenor Adam Luther, and bass Dion Mazerolle bring Handel’s monumental oratorio to life. Tickets range from $20-55, including a livestream.
December 18 – Ottawa Choral Society, Britten’s Saint Nicolas Cantata
Ottawa Chorał Society presents the Saint Nicolas Cantata, Benjamin Britten’s celebration of the legendary 4th-century missionary’s life and work, along with a joyous program of carols for the holiday season. Canadian tenor Matthew Dalen will sing the role of St. Nicolas, under the baton of OSC Artistic Director and Conductor Gabrielle Gaudreault. Get your tickets here.
For more details on what’s happening in opera across Canada, visit our calendar here!