The Christmas season is approaching (despite our frequent protestations that it’s too soon), so we’re taking a look at what the Halle is performing at the Bridgewater Hall over the season …

Saturday 1 December, 6pm
Handel’s Messiah
John Butt conductor; Mary Bevan soprano; Jess Dandy contralto; Stuart Jackson tenor; Lukas Jakobski bass; Hallé Choir
December just wouldn’t be the same without Handel’s glorious Messiah. Soon after its first performance in 1742 it was established as a national treasure, before the Victorians made it the rock on which an entire choral tradition was built. Back then, vocal and orchestral forces of literally thousands would perform Messiah – most famously in London’s Crystal Palace – but today, as the Hallé’s performance will show, the taste is for authentic readings, highlighting the dramatic tension of Handel’s famous work. Whether you are a Messiah regular or new to the work, The Bridgewater Hall is the perfect setting for this richly satisfying musical treat.

Wednesday 5 December, 2.15pm; Thursday 6 December and Sunday 9 December, 7.30pm
Weber Overture: Der Freischütz
Beethoven Piano Concerto No.4
Brahms Symphony No.3
Cristian Măcelaru conductor; Lars Vogt piano
In recent years Cristian Măcelaru has become very much a favourite with Hallé audiences. In these concerts he forms a dream team with the great pianist Lars Vogt. Beethoven’s great concerto is a work of lyricism and humour with a slow movement that has been likened to Orpheus taming the furies! Hans Richter compared Brahms’s Third Symphony to Beethoven’s ‘Eroica’ and it certainly has heroic qualities, its moody third movement being a particular highlight that has made its mark in film as well as the concert hall. In his short life, Weber left us a dazzling legacy of operatic and orchestral works; Der Freischütz perhaps the most popular of them all, and certainly the most eloquent, as the Overture reveals.

Sunday 9 December, 3pm
Christmas Family Concert
Jonathon Heyward conductor; Alistair Malloy presenter
This amazing afternoon of festive family fun is packed with sing-alongs, jingle-alongs, surprises and laughter, which makes it the perfect start to the Christmas countdown. Even Santa takes time out to put in an appearance!
There will be plenty to entertain you in the foyers before the concert too, and don’t forget your sleigh bells – homemade or real – so you can join in during the show.

Thursday 13 December, 7.30pm
Sibelius The Swan of Tuonela
Grieg Piano Concerto
Sibelius Karelia Suite
Grieg Peer Gynt Suite: Extracts
Sibelius Finlandia
Stephen Bell conductor; Tom Poster piano
Perfect for winter, this inspirational concert celebrates the two towering figures of Scandinavian classical music – Sibelius and Grieg. Award-winning British pianist Tom Poster, described by The Herald as ‘a marvel’, will perform Grieg’s evergreen Piano Concerto. The programme also features a suite from Peer Gynt, including the dramatic In the Hall of the Mountain King and the beautifully evocative Morning, as well as Sibelius’s popular Karelia Suite and his stirring, exciting tribute to his homeland, Finlandia.

Saturday 15 December, 1.30pm & 4pm; Sunday 16 December, 11am & 1.30pm
The Snowman
Polar Express Suite Alan Silvestri (arr. Jerry Brubaker)
Dinosaurumpus Steve Pickett/Tony Mitton
The Snowman (U)  Howard Blake
Jonathon Heyward conductor; Will Padfield presenter
Bring all the family along to the big screening of The Snowman, the animated classic by Raymond Briggs. The film will be accompanied live by the Hallé performing Howard Blake’s beautiful score – including the magical song ‘Walking in the Air’. In the first half of the concert, take the Polar Express before joining the dinosaurs and presenter Will Padfield in the sludgy old swamp as they romp with the Hallé. Steve Pickett’s Dinosaurumpus is based on the popular children’s book by Tony Mitton and received a stomping reception at its premiere in 2015.

Friday 21 December, 7.30pm
A Hallé Christmas Extravaganza
The concert includes: Let It Snow, Winter Wonderland, Jingle Bells, White Christmas, Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer, Santa Claus Is Coming To Town, Little Drummer Boy, Polar Express, The Christmas Song and more!
Stephen Bell conductor; Noah Stewart tenor; Hallé Youth Training Choir; Winners of the Hallé Corporate Choir Competition; Hallé Choral Academy
Christmas is almost here (we’ll concede that by the 21st), so why not celebrate with Stephen Bell, the Hallé and three choirs? They will be joined by guest artist Noah Stewart.

Saturday 22 December, 3pm; Sunday 23 December 3pm & 7.30pm
Hallé Carol Concerts
The concerts include:
While Shepherds Watched,
Good King Wenceslas
O Holy Night
Lift Up Your Heads from Handel’s Messiah
Away In A Manger
Hark The Herald Angels Sing
Rimsky-Korsakov’s Polonaise from his Christmas Eve Suite
Hess’s Christmas Overture
and the Hallé Children’s Choir performing I Want A Hippopotamus for Christmas
Stephen Bell conductor; Hallé Choir; Hallé Youth Choir; Hallé Children’s Choir
Stephen Bell conducts and presents the Hallé’s annual traditional celebration of Christmas – a treat for all ages. There will be carols for choir and audience, as well as a stockingful of the most beautiful and magical music performed by the Hallé in seasonal mood.

Saturday 22 December, 7.30pm
Hallé Youth Orchestra
Lizst Preludes
Strauss Horn Concerto No.1
Dvořák Symphony No.8
Jonathon Heyward conductor; Ben Goldscheider horn
Ben Goldscheider, 2016 BBC Young Musician Finalist and Brass winner, joins Jonathon Heyward and the Hallé Youth Orchestra to perform Richard Strauss’s First Horn Concerto, a youthful work of immense charm. Dvorák’s Eighth Symphony, in the words of the great Czech conductor Vacláv Talich, ‘sings of the joy of green pastures, of summer evenings, of the melancholy of blue forests, of the defiant merry-making of Czech peasants.’ It is a magnificent work that simply brims with great melodies. The concert opens with Liszt’s free-flowing symphonic poem, Les Préludes.

Saturday 29 December, 7pm
Casino Royale in Concert
Ben Palmer conductor
Film Concerts Live! proudly presents Casino Royale in Concert, produced in association with EON Productions and Metro Goldwyn Mayer Studios (MGM).
For the first time ever, audiences will be able to experience Bond on the big screen accompanied by the full force of the Hallé performing composer David Arnold’s thrilling musical score live and in sync to the picture! Directed by Martin Campbell, Casino Royale brings us Bond at the start of his career, having just earned 00 status and his licence to kill. It also marked Daniel Craig’s first appearance as the legendary MI6 operative. Casino Royale also features Mads Mikkelsen as ‘Le Chiffre’, Eva Green as ‘Vesper Lynd’, Judi Dench returning as ‘M’ and locations for the film include the Bahamas, Montenegro, and a jawdropping finale on the Grand Canal in Venice.
Film Certificate 12A

Sunday 30 December, 7.30pm
The concert includes: Waterloo, Hasta Mañana, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, SOS, Money, Money, Money, Knowing Me, Knowing You, The Name of the Game, Chiquitita, Take a Chance on Me, Voulez-Vous, The Winner Takes It All, Does Your Mother Know, Fernando,
Lay All Your Love on Me, Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight), Mamma Mia,
Dancing Queen, and Angeleyes from Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again
Stephen Bell conductor; Capital Voices vocalists
The four acclaimed vocalists of Capital Voices, the Hallé, a complete rhythm section and conductor Stephen Bell all come together to perform the greatest hits of the ultimate classic pop act – it could only be ABBA! This is the party season’s perfect night out, so put on your glitzy glad-rags and re-live these unforgettable songs. Try not to start singing out loud when you read the wonderful line up…

image of The Halle courtesy Russel Hart.