The Orchestra Does "It's a Wonderful Life" and 8 More Classical Music Events to Hit This Week

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Christmas concerts expand this week’s list to ten events — it’s difficult to whittle the choices down any further. Enjoy, and in the spirit of the season, overindulge!

As part of CIM’s Winter Chamber Music Festival, students in the Cleveland Institute of Music’s Intensive String Quartet Seminar will tackle all of Béla Bartók’s amazing quartets in a single concert on Wednesday, December 7 at 7:00 pm in Mixon Hall. You can hear them, in order, played by the Gemini, Jaius, Belka, Onyx, Aurelia and Callisto Quartets, and admission is free.
Then on Friday December 9, the Cavani String Quartet will join guitarist Colin Davin in a program of works by Boccherini and Vivaldi, and Franz Schubert’s famous “Death and the Maiden” Quartet in d. The concert is free, but you’ll need to serve seating passes by calling 216.795.3211.

Guest conductor Stefan Willich will lead CityMusic Cleveland in five concerts around the area beginning on Wednesday, December 7 at 7:30 pm in Christ Episcopal Church in Shaker Heights. Hornist Elizabeth Freimuth will be featured in Richard Strauss’s Horn Concerto No. 2, and the orchestra will play Viennese music by two unrelated families of Strausses. Check the concert listings for times and venues of four more performances through Sunday.

Last week, The Cleveland Orchestra gave you George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker in Playhouse Square. This week, the ensemble returns to Severance Hall to crank up more Christmas activities: two screenings of Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life on Thursday and Friday, December 8 and 9 at 7:30 pm, and ten Christmas Concerts beginning on Saturday afternoon, December 10 and running through Sunday evening, December 18 will all be led by the busy associate conductor Brett Mitchell. The Orchestra’s Youth Chorus joins in for the movies, and all the Severance Hall choruses, plus guests, will raise their voices for the holiday fare. Tickets can be ordered online.

Italian violinist Francesco D’Orazio will be featured in contemporary music by Italian composers on the Cleveland Museum of Art’s Performing Arts Series at Transformer Station on Friday, December 9 at 7:30 pm. The space is small and seating is limited. Reserve tickets online.

Lakewood-born composer David Conte has made O. Henry’s famous Christmas story, The Gift of the Magi, into an opera. Great Lakes Light Opera will present the show at East Cleveland Theater on Friday, December 9 at 7:30 pm, and Sunday, December 11 at 3:00 pm, featuring Anna White as Della, Matthew Brennan as Jim, Jennifer Woda as Maggie, Bryant Bush as Jim, and Seth Johnson, Joel Kincannon and Jonathan Stuckey as the Magi). Tickets available online.

Although you mostly hear it performed in churches at Christmas, George Frideric Handel first performed his Messiah in a Dublin theater at Eastertime. Apollo’s Fire is sticking to the more recent Christmas tradition, but promises to keep Handel’s theatrical sensibilities flowing throughout his famous oratorio. Jeannette Sorrell conducts, and soloists include Meredith Hall, soprano, Amanda Crider, mezzo-soprano, Karim Sulayman, tenor, and Jeffrey Strauss, baritone. There will be five performances, beginning on Friday, December 9 at St. Raphael’s Church in Bay Village and continuing in other venues through December 16. Tickets and venue details here.

Andrew Sords will be featured in Samuel Barber’s Violin Concerto with the Contemporary Youth Orchestra at Cleveland State University’s Waetjen Auditorium on Saturday, December 10 at 7:00 pm. Conductor Liza Grossman will yield the podium to collegiate guest conductor Victoria Petrak for Fay Wang’s The Play of Toys, competition winner Wenlan Jackson will play the first movement of Jean Sibelius’s Violin Concerto, and the evening will end with Leonard Bernstein’s Symphonic Dances from West Side Story. Tickets can be reserved online.

Though baking children in an oven isn’t everybody’s idea of a Christmas entertainment, the Suburban Symphony will gift Humperdinck’s traditional holiday opera, Hansel & Gretel, to the community on Sunday, December 18 at 3:30 pm in Beachwood High School Auditorium. Martin Kessler, conducts this semi-staged production of the complete opera, sung in English by Sandra Ross (Hansel), Marian Vogel (Gretel), Timothy Culver (The Witch), John Watson (Father) and Claire Conneley (Mother). No admission charge, but unopened, non-perishable food may be donated to the Greater Cleveland Food Bank.

ChamberFest Cleveland’s winter edition will feature pianist Roman Rabinovich in fifteen of Haydn’s 45 sonatas over three programs. The series begins at the Music Settlement on Sunday, December 11at 3:30 pm, and continues with two concerts next week. Check the details on our concert listings page and reserve tickets online.

For details of these and many other events, visit the Concert Listings page.
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