Holiday Songbook

 Nothing says yuletide quite like a glorious Christmas concert with all the passion of a great composer’s work performed at a stellar level. A tradition in its own right, Vancouver Chamber Choir’s rendition of festive heavyweight Handel’s Messiah (Orpheum, Dec. 12) is the perfect way to set the holiday mood.

Over at the Chan, Early Music Vancouver plays host to a cluster of celebrated international soloists for their performance of Bach’s Christmas Oratorio (Chan Centre, Dec. 21). U.S. soprano Teresa Wakim and baritone Sumner Thompson are joined by Canadian tenor Zachary Finkelstein, who, until five years ago, was a political consultant; he now trails rave reviews from the New York Times and Daily Telegraph in his wake.

Looking for lighter fare? The Vancouver Chamber Choir has you covered with more traditional carol concerts at Ryerson United Church, each filtered through two of the 20th century’s most revered poets, Dylan Thomas (Dec. 19) and Charlie Brown (Dec. 21).

And it really wouldn’t be a Vancouver Christmas without Bard on the Beach’s Christopher Gaze and his annual, and zesty, pilgrimage through cherished yuletide tales with help from the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. A Traditional Christmas plays 14 locations and dates from Dec. 11.