Superlist no. 788
Bay Area performances
By Laura Paskell-Brown
SO THE TREE and the fairy lights are up, you have enough booze
and unhealthy snacks to sink the Titanic, and your TV is about
to explode in a flurry of consumerism and romantic schmaltz. But there's
something missing. That's right, folks: it just wouldn't be a happy
holiday without some singing about God. And for that, there's no beating
Handel's Messiah, a piece for choir, orchestra, and soloists
that has delighted audiences worldwide for more than 250 years. As 18th-century
music historian Charles Burney once said, "Messiah has fed
the hungry and clothed the naked, fostered the orphan, and enriched
succeeding managers of Oratories more than any single musical production
in this or any other country." We're not totally sure what that
means, but here's the lowdown on where to watch (or even sing) the cracking
Christmas classic this holiday season. (Note: We recommend calling in
advance for tickets.)
The American Bach Soloists will be staging the Bay Area's "only
period-instrument performance" of the Messiah this season. Wed/10-Thurs/11,
7:30 p.m., Grace Cathedral, 1100 California, S.F. $18-$50. (415) 621-7099,
The Berkeley Community Chorus and Orchestra, which specializes
in major classical works, will be ending its performance of the Messiah
with a rousing rendition of the Hallelujah chorus that audience members
are free to join. Sat/6 and Sat/20, 8 p.m.; Sun/7, 4 p.m., St. Joseph
the Worker Church, 1640 Addison, Berk. Free. www.bcco.org.
Masterworks Chorale joins the Solaris Chamber Orchestra
and soloists to bring you the Christmas portion and favorite choruses
from Handel's Messiah. Join the fun with the sing-along version Thurs/11
or sit back and enjoy the concert version Sun/14. Sing-along version
Thurs/11, 7 p.m., College of San Mateo, 1700 West Hillsdale Blvd., San
Mateo; concert version Sun/14, 4 p.m., United Methodist Church, 1443
Howard, Burlingame. $16-$19. (650) 579-5568.
Combine singing and goodwill to all men (another holiday theme) with
the Redwood Empire Sing-Along Messiah. The performance benefits
Hospital Chaplaincy Services, a "non-sectarian, interfaith agency
providing caring listeners to nearly 20 Sonoma County hospitals and
skilled nursing facilities." Wed/17, 7:30 p.m., Luther Burbank
Center for the Arts, 50 Mark West Springs Road, Santa Rosa. $12-$16.
(707) 546 3600, www.sing-along-messiah.org.
Take part in the "Sing-it-Yourself Messiah" with the San
Francisco Conservatory of Music. Weekly classes at the Conservatory
started Nov. 5 (7:30-9:30 p.m.), and there's just one left. However,
those brave enough can learn it all in one day at "Extreme Messiah"
Sun/7, 1-5 p.m., and the extremely cocky can just turn up the day of
the performance. Mon/8, 8 p.m., Davies Symphony Hall, Grove between
Van Ness and Franklin, S.F. $20-$49 (discounts for parties of 10 or
more). (415) 864-6000 (tickets); (415) 759-3401 or email
Join the San Francisco Symphony in its annual performances of
the Messiah. Conductor Martin Hasalböck leads a distinguished
lineup of soloists and the Grammy Award-winning orchestra in two performances.
Fri/19-Sat/20, 8 p.m., Davies Symphony Hall, Grove between Van Ness
and Franklin, S.F. $15-$80. (415) 864-6000, www.sfsymphony.org.