December 2021 will see the welcome return of a well-loved holiday tradition: the Christmas concert. After the cancellations of 2020, it’s a relief to be able to gather again in theatres, concert halls and places of worship across the country to share in the season’s celebrations. But if you aren’t quite ready to attend a public gathering yet, opportunities also abound online for joining in the festivities! We’ve collected four exciting performances streaming this month and beyond – and all are easily watchable from the comfort of your own home.
Against the Grain’s Requiem
After the success of last year’s Messiah/Complex, Against the Grain Theatre has collaborated with the Canadian Opera Company (COC) to produce a film of Mozart’s Requiem, a piece unfinished at the time of the composer’s death. Requiem isn’t a traditional Christmas selection like Messiah, but Against the Grain presents this film as a tribute to lives lost during COVID-19 and in honour of humanity’s resilience. Requiem is performed by four emerging opera singers who reflect throughout the film on finding hope during the pandemic. With powerful performances from these soloists, the COC Chorus and Orchestra, and stunning cinematography of the Four Seasons Centre and Scarborough Bluffs, Requiem is a beautiful testimony to the enduring power of music to create healing amidst suffering.
Requiem is available to watch for free online from Nov. 27 to May 22.
Christmas with The King’s Singers: Live from London
Acapella group The King’s Singers perform Christmas carols in this joyous concert recorded live in the historic St. Martin-in-the-Fields Church in London, England. Presented by the Voces8 Foundation as part of their annual Christmas festival Live from London, this show celebrates the release of the six-person ensemble’s latest album, Christmas Carols with the King’s Singers. While the group is best known for their mastery of English hymns, this evening’s program will offer a multilingual journey through Christmas songs from around Europe — and possibly around the world — pairing familiar favourites with lesser-known music from Spain, Germany, France and Sweden.
The King’s Singers: Live from London streams online on Dec. 11 at 2:30 p.m. EST.
Theatre Calgary’s A Christmas Carol
This filmed play of Charles Dickens’ Christmas novella was a hit with audiences when it premiered in December 2020 (seen above) – and now, Theatre Calgary is reviving the production both onstage and online for at-home viewing. The play features only three actors playing the 25 characters in Dickens’ story of the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge, visited by three spirits on Christmas Eve and forced to confront the evils of his tight-fisted ways. A Christmas Carol is comedic, haunting and heartwarming – and a good reminder to remember those at Christmas who go without. Theatre Calgary raises money for the Calgary Food Bank at live performances of A Christmas Carol, so consider pairing your film purchase with a donation to your local food bank in the spirit of the play’s call to generosity.
A Christmas Carol: Online at Home is available for online viewing from Dec. 2 – 31.
The Toronto Consort’s A Christmas Story
The Toronto Consort specializes in performing music from the medieval, Renaissance, and early baroque periods on historical instruments like the lute and recorder. This unique holiday concert will feature story and song, with recitation of the nativity story as told in William Tyndale’s Gospel translations, accompanied by sacred polyphony, Christmas carols and festive dances. The Toronto Consort’s performances offer a fascinating glimpse into music-making of the past – and A Christmas Story promises a thrilling trip back in time to experience Yuletide revels Renaissance-style.
A Christmas Story is streaming throughout December 2021.
Marie Trotter is a writer, poet and playwright from Toronto. She is a PhD student in literature and theatre at McGill University in Montreal.
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