December is always a special time of year and The Halle always have some festive delights set for Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall.  From carols to movie classics and ballet to oratorios they have an incredible programme set for Christmas 2019.

What’s The Halle performing in December 2019?

Hallé December 2019 Concerts at The Bridgewater Hall:

Copland’s Jazz Concerto
Thursday 5 December, 7.30pm
Conductor – Cristian Macelaru; Clarinet – Sergio Castelló López
Jake Heggie Moby-Dick Suite (European Premiere)
Copland Clarinet Concerto
Bernstein West Side Story: Symphonic Dances
Gershwin Porgy and Bess: Symphonic Picture
A favourite artist with the Hallé, Romanian conductor, Cristian Macelaru, now in his first season as Chief Conductor of WDR Cologne conducts. The programme features the UK premiere of Jake Heggie’s Moby-Dick. After it, the Hallé’s own Sergio Castelló López plays the concerto Copland wrote specifically for the great jazz clarinettist Benny Goodman. Two pinnacles of American musical theatre in symphonic guise complete the programme: Bernstein’s West Side Story and Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, the latter in Robert Russell Bennett’s lush orchestration, featuring saxophone and banjo and including show-stopping numbers like ‘Summertime’.

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Handel’s Messiah
Saturday 7 December, 6pm
Conductor – Cristian Macelaru; Choir – The Halle Choir
Handel Messiah
In 1741, Handel received a libretto from his regular collaborator Charles Jennens. To a friend Jennens confided that he hoped ‘Handel will lay out his whole Genius and Skill upon it … as the subject excels every other subject. The subject is Messiah.’ Composed in just 24 days, its initial reception was lukewarm; however, by the end of his life Handel knew he had composed an enduring masterpiece. With solos such as the heartfelt ‘I Know That My Redeemer Liveth’, the noble ‘The Trumpet Shall Sound’ and the exalted ‘Hallelujah Chorus’, this concert is an essential part of the Hallé’s Christmas. Cristian Macelaru demonstrates his breadth of repertoire as he conducts this work to which he is deeply attached.

Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Delights
Wednesday 11 December, 2.15pm; Thursday 12 December, 7.30pm; Sunday 15 December, 4pm
Conductor – Carlo Rizzi
Prokofiev Romeo and Juliet: scenes and dances
Tchaikovsky The Nutcracker: Act II
Carlo Rizzi, renowned for outstanding opera performances, turns to ballet for his welcome return to the Hallé, conducting classic Russian masterpieces from the 19th and 20th centuries. In Romeo and Juliet, Prokofiev composed full-blooded, dramatic music for Shakespeare’s characters; be it the passionate ardour of the doomed lovers or the arrogance of their feuding families. In complete contrast, Act II of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker is set in the fairy-tale Land of Sweets. It’s a box of delights with characterful dances – Spanish, Arabian and Chinese, conjuring coffee, tea and chocolate – even in the Dance of the Reed Flutes (remember a certain fruit and nut bar?), the Waltz of the Flowers and, of course, the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy.

Christmas Family Concert
Sunday 15 December, 11am
Conductor – Jack Ridley; Presenter – Ruth Rosales
Programme to include:
Prokofiev Trokia
John Williams E.T.: Flying Theme
Gruber Silent Night
Tchaikovsky The Nutcracker: extracts
Anderson Sleigh Ride
Marks Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree
Carpenter and Post The A-Team: theme tune
Ruthy the Red-Nosed Reindeer needs your help! She’s on a Christmas quest to join the Sleigh Team in time for Santa’s biggest day. Join the Ho Ho Hallé as they take flight on a classical music adventure, featuring many season favourites. Remember to bring your best festive singing voices and prancing, dancing feet. Ruthy can’t do this without you!

A Christmas Cracker
Thursday 19 December, 7.30pm
Conductor – Stephen Bell; Soprano – Jennifer France; Choir – The Halle Youth Training Choir and The Halle Choral Academy
Programme to include:
Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire; Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas; White Christmas; It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas; Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel Overture; Bissell’s Christmas Carnival; Joy to the World; J. Strauss II’s Champagne Polka; Winter Wonderland; When You Wish Upon a Star; Silver Bells; Jingle Bell Rock; I’ll Be Home for Christmas; Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town; Somewhere in My Memory from Home Alone and more
With the big day just around the corner, here’s a chance to sing along with and listen to the captivating voice of Jennifer France and three choirs in a real Christmas cracker of a concert.

The Snowman
Friday 20 December, 4pm; Monday 23 December, 11am, 1.30pm & 4pm
Conductor – Ben Palmer; Presenter – Tom Redmond
Steve Pickett/TonyMitton Alien Party on Planet Zum-Zee (based on the picture book Alien Tea on Planet Zum-Zee by Tony Mitton and Guy Parker-Rees)
Howard Blake The Snowman (Certificate U)
Bring the whole family to the Hallé’s screening of Raymond Briggs’ classic animated film, The Snowman – an essential part of Christmas. The film is accompanied by the Hallé performing Howard Blake’s magical score live, including a chorister singing ‘Walking in the Air’. In the first half of the concert, start the countdown to Christmas with the Hallé and the aliens on planet Zum-Zee. Get on the Hallé spaceship and prepare for an astonishing musical journey with big screen animation.

Hallé Carol Concerts
Saturday 21 December, 3pm; Sunday 22 December, 3pm & 7.30pm
Conductor – Stephen Bell; Choirs – The Halle Choir, The Halle Youth Choir, and the Halle Children’s Choir
Programme to include:
O Come All Ye Faithful; The First Nowell; Hark! The Herald Angels Sing; O Little Town of Bethlehem; Jingle Bells; Perfect Christmas Night performed by the Hallé Children’s Choir; Ding Dong Merrily On High; Rimsky-Korsakov’s Dance of the Tumblers; extracts from Prokoviev’s Lieutenant Kijé including Troika and more…
A seasonal selection of traditional carols for orchestra, choirs and audience. Come and sing some wonderful Christmas favourites, and hear the Orchestra and three choirs perform even more.

Skyfall in Concert
Sunday 29 December, 7pm
Skyfall (12A)
Conductor – Ben Palmer
Film Concerts Live! is proud to present Skyfall in Concert, the second installment in the James Bond Concert Series, produced in association with EON Productions and Metro Goldwyn Mayer Studios (MGM). Daniel Craig returns as the legendary secret agent in the franchise’s most successful film to date. Now you will be able to experience composer Thomas Newman’s BAFTA-winning original score performed live by the Hallé in sync to the picture!
Directed by Sam Mendes, Skyfall pits 007 against one of his most formidable foes… the ruthless cyberterrorist and former MI6 agent Silva (Javier Bardem). The action begins when a hard drive containing the identities of every undercover British agent is stolen. Bond’s mission to recover the stolen drive takes him from a thrilling chase across the rooftops of Istanbul to the violent underworld of Macau, and ultimately to the streets of London and the very heart of MI6 itself. As the stakes grow higher, his pursuit of the villainous Silva leads to an epic showdown at Skyfall Lodge, Bond’s remote family estate in the Scottish highlands.
Judi Dench returns once again as the steadfast M, and Skyfall introduces two familiar and beloved Bond characters: the ingenious quartermaster Q (Ben Whishaw), and the charming and resourceful Eve Moneypenny (Naomie Harris).

Queen: A Symphonic Spectacular
Monday 30 December, 7.30pm
Conductor – Richard Sidwell; Vocalists – Rachael Wooding, Jenna Lee-James, Jon Boydon, Peter Eldrige
Programme to include:
Seven Seas of Rhye; I Want to Break Free; Love of My Life; Killer Queen; These Are the Days of Our Lives; I Want It All; One Vision; Who Wants to Live Forever; Hammer to Fall; A Kind of Magic; Don’t Stop Me Now; Somebody to Love; Another One Bites the Dust; Bohemian Rhapsody; and many more…
Following the sell-out event of 2016, conductor Richard Sidwell, four star vocalists and a rock band return to join over 80 musicians of the Hallé to celebrate the legendary music of Queen.

The Halle Orchestra image courtesy Russel Hart