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Swan Lake Ballet Estatal Ruso de Rosotov homeEl Lago de los Cisnes - Ballet Estatal Ruso de Rosotov
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Alabama Gospel Choir homeAlabama Gospel Choir
If you’re not in the Christmas spirit yet, help is at hand with a flurry of yuletide shows to put you in the festive mood.
Kicking off at Palau de la Música Catalana, the Dnipropetrovsk State Philharmonic Orchestra and the National Choir of Belarus make themselves comfortable for a trio of shows over four days. On the 5th and 8th they perform a double bill of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and, arguably one of the finest pieces of choral music ever written, Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana. Its opening O Fortuna has been used countless times and TV-loving Brits may well recognise it as the music played whenever a terrified Rodney saw his nephew Damien in Only Fools and Horses. Meanwhile, they give Handel’s stirring Messiah an airing on the 6th and on the 7th they play a double bill of Mozart’s Requiem and Symphony no. 40 in G minor.
Also at the Palau, the Alabama Gospel Choir* throw their hands in the air on the 15th and 18th while the Strauss Festival Orchestra* perform some of Johann Strauss’s most popular waltzes, polkas and marches on the 19th, 25th and 31st. At L’Auditori, the Banda Municipal de Barcelona play a selection of Brahms, Lizt, Guinjoan and Brotons for their Christmas concert on the 11th, but if it’s carols you’re after, you can see the Cor Vivaldi: Petits Cantors de Catalunya on the 18th or the Coral Cantiga dels Lluïsos de Gràcia on the 23rd. Both choirs will be performing a selection of traditional Catalan music.
If funds are low, the Conservatori is the place to go. On the 18th, hard-working students will be performing 11 hours of music for free and there’s everything from chamber music to a percussion group and boys’ choir.
Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas without someone putting on El Lago de los Cisnes (Swanlake) and young upstarts, the Ballet Estatal Ruso de Rostov don’t disappoint. Their traditional take on Tchaikovsky’s masterpiece at Teatro Coliseum on the 22nd/23rd/25th will delight ballet purists, as will their festive El Cascanueces (The Nutcracker) on the 27th to 29th at the same venue. Don’t expect any avant-garde oddities here; this is ballet by the book with tutus and white tights a-plenty.
If ballet and popular classics just aren’t high-brow enough for you, there’s always the opera, and if contemporary’s your thing, George Benjamin’s one-act Into the Little Hill has its Spanish premiere at Gran Teatre del Liceu on the 2nd and 3rd of the month. Performed by London Sinfonietta, the opera is loosely based on the Pied Piper and is scored for just soprano and contralto. As it’s a short piece, a selection of Benjamin’s chamber music rounds off the night.
Giuseppe Verdi’s final opera Falstaff is the Liceu’s big December show with performances from the 9th to the 29th. Based on Shakespeare’s Merry Wives of Windsor, it’s a rambunctious comedy about a hard-up knight who tries and fails to woo rich women for their money. Praised for its orchestration, melody and libretto, this co-production with the Welsh National Opera is everything an opera should be—big, brash and beautiful. Tickets go from €9.50 up in the gods to €194 for the posh seats.
So, pour yourself a glass of mulled wine, get your glad rags on and be sure not to miss curtain up.
* Also at the Liceu and L’Auditori