Once again the holiday season brings a dazzling display of classical music offerings to the St. Louis area — from perennial favorites to treasures unlooked for. Here’s a rundown.
St. Louis Philharmonic Orchestra
When 7:30 p.m. Dec. 2 • Where Skip Viragh Center for the Arts, 425 South Lindbergh Boulevard • How much $20 • More info 314-421-3600; stlphilharmonic.org
The St. Louis Philharmonic, under the direction of Darwin Aquino, presents its Holiday Pops Concert, a festive evening of orchestral favorites for the whole family.
St. Louis Symphony Orchestra
Where Powell Hall, 718 North Grand Boulevard (unless otherwise noted) • How much Prices vary • More info 314-534-1700; slso.org
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The St. Louis Symphony Orchestra’s many holiday offerings begin with Handel’s “Messiah” (7:30 p.m. Dec. 2, 8 p.m. Dec. 3, 3 p.m. Dec. 4; $15-$93). The orchestra is joined by the St. Louis Symphony Chorus and soloists Amanda Forsythe (soprano), Key’mon Murrah (countertenor), John Matthew Myers (tenor) and Jonathon Adams (baritone). Laurence Cummings conducts.
“A Gospel Christmas” (7:30 p.m. Dec. 15; $39-$70) features the In Unison Chorus, conducted by Kevin McBeth, and guest artist Sheléa.
There will be five performances of the Mercy Holiday Celebration at Powell (2 and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 16-17, 2 p.m. Dec. 18; $33-$72). The perennial favorite includes holiday classics performed by the orchestra with conductor, trumpeter and vocalist Byron Stripling. The program will also be presented twice (7:30 p.m. Dec. 20-21; $25-$55) at Lindenwood University’s J. Scheidegger Center for the Arts.
Two holiday-themed films will unspool at Powell while the SLSO performs the scores: “Home Alone” (7 p.m. Dec. 22-23; $41-$70); and “Elf” (7 p.m. Dec. 29-30; $40-$70).
Finally, SLSO assistant conductor Stephanie Childress and the orchestra close out 2022 and make way for 2023 with a New Year’s Eve celebration (2 and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 31; $45-$110).
When 7:30 p.m. Dec. 3 • Where Dunham Hall, 1 Hairpin Drive, Edwardsville • How much $50, $15 for students • More info operaedwardsville.org
Opera Edwardsville’s fifth anniversary celebration and holiday concert offers good cheer in the form of operatic works that feature parties, toasts and drinking songs. Excerpts from Bizet’s “Carmen,” Donizetti’s “Lucrezia Borgia” and Verdi’s “Macbeth,” among others, make up the first part of the evening and will be followed by performances of festive favorites and holiday classics.
Union Avenue Opera
When 7 p.m. Dec. 6 • Where Café St. Louis, Missouri History Museum, 5700 Lindell Boulevard, Forest Park • How much $75-$125 • More info 314-361-2881; unionavenueopera.org
Union Avenue Opera presents its “Jingle & Mingle” holiday celebration, featuring dinner, drinks, caroling and performances by 2022 UAO artists Debby Lennon and Karen Kanakis.
When 8 p.m. Dec. 7 • Where Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis, 4341 Lindell Boulevard • How much $19-$42 • More info 314-533-7662; cathedralconcerts.org
“Christmas at the Cathedral” features the St. Louis Archdiocesan Choirs and Orchestra performing the Christmas portion of Handel’s “Messiah” as well as other Christmas classics old and new.
Bach Society of St. Louis
When 7:30 p.m. Dec. 9 • Where Powell Hall, 718 North Grand Boulevard • How much $30-$85 • More info 314-534-1700; bachsociety.org
The Bach Society Chorus and Orchestra’s Christmas candlelight concert has been a St. Louis favorite since 1951. Among the works to be performed are traditional carols such as “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” and “Joy to the World,” plus Mozart’s “Exsultate, jubilate” and “O Holy Night” sung by famed soprano Sherezade Panthaki. Bach Society music director and conductor A. Dennis Sparger will be on the podium.
Ambassadors of Harmony
When 8 p.m. Dec. 9, 2 and 8 p.m. Dec. 10, 2 and 7 p.m. Dec. 11 • Where Touhill Performing Arts Center, 1 Touhill Circle • How much $22.50-$45 • More info 314-516-4949; aoh.org
The noted men’s a cappella chorus, more than 130 members strong, presents its popular “Sounds of the Season” program at the Touhill. A four-time International Chorus Champion of the Barbershop Harmony Society and winner of numerous other competitions, the Ambassadors are known not only for their harmonies but for their innovative and clever choreography. This year’s concerts — five of them over three days — feature guest appearances by Vocal Spectrum, GQ and the debut performance of Visions of Harmony.
St. Louis Children’s Choirs
When 2 and 7 p.m. Dec. 10 • Where J. Scheidegger Center, 2300 West Clay Street, St. Charles • How much $15-$38 • More info 314-993-9626; slccsing.org
Approximately 450 singers, ages 6 to 18, hailing from more than 200 schools in Missouri and Illinois come together for a pair of concerts titled “Sure on the Shining Night.” The afternoon concert features Music Makers, Children’s Choir 1B, Young Men’s Chorus and Concert Choir, while the evening concert spotlights Chorale 2A/2B, Children’s Choir 1A, Choristers 3A/3B, Young Men’s Chorus and Concert Choir.
American Chamber Chorale and Orchestra
When 7:30 p.m. Dec. 10 • Where Salem United Methodist Church, 1200 South Lindbergh Boulevard • How much Free • More info 314-638-0793; acchorale.com
The American Chamber Chorale and Orchestra present the free candlelight concert “Music for the King of Kings” in the sanctuary of the Salem United Methodist Church. It features time-honored carols as well as new music and includes an opportunity for the audience to join in for the finale, “Silent Night.”
Masterworks Chorale & Children’s Choruses
When 7:30 p.m. Dec. 11 • Where St. Peter’s Cathedral, 200 West Harrison Street, Belleville • How much $10-$20 • More info singmasterworks.org
Masterworks Chorale & Children’s Choruses, under the direction of Stephen Mager, present “Christmas at the Cathedral” with guest performers the Gateway Brass Quintet.
Opera Theatre of St. Louis
When 6 p.m. Dec. 11 • Where St. Louis Club, 7701 Forsyth Boulevard, Clayton • How much $300 • More info 314-963-4223; opera-stl.org
Opera Theatre of St. Louis hosts its annual Holiday Celebration, a benefit for its nationally recognized young artist programs. The event features drinks, dinner, caroling and a performance by soprano Murrella Parton, who will sing Fiordiligi in OTSL’s 2023 production of Mozart’s “Cosi fan tutte.”
Winter Opera St. Louis
When 7 p.m. Dec. 12-14 • Where Dominic’s on the Hill, 5101 Wilson Avenue • How much $85 • More info 314-865-0038; winteroperastl.org
Winter Opera St. Louis’ “Holiday on the Hill” offers a four-course dinner at Dominic’s on the Hill, plus a holiday concert sung by Winter Opera Artists.
Gateway Men’s Chorus
When 2 and 6 p.m. Dec. 18, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 19 • Where Centene Center for the Arts, 3547 Olive Street • How much $20 • More info 314-287-5669; gmcstl.org
The Gateway Men’s Chorus opens its 36th season with the concert “GMC Is Comin’ to Town,” featuring joyous seasonal music from the 20th and 21st centuries.
St. Louis Chamber Chorus
When 3 p.m. Dec. 18 • Where Union Avenue Christian Church, 733 Union Boulevard • How much $40 • More info 636-458-4343; chamberchorus.org
St. Louis Chamber Chorus presents the program “Advent to Christmas,” featuring a performance of Hugo Distler’s “The Christmas Story,” plus carols by Charles Collins, Sasha Johnson Manning and Ivan Moody.