Our guide to the city’s best classical music and opera happening this weekend and in the week ahead.
‘AMAHL AND THE NIGHT VISITORS’ at Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen (Dec. 6-7, 7:30 p.m.; Dec. 8, 2 and 6 p.m.). This extraordinary project by On Site Opera is a presentation of Gian Carlo Menotti’s 1951 opera on the Nativity, but with a twist: The chorus, performing at a Chelsea soup kitchen, is made up of people who have experienced homelessness and now live in supportive housing provided by Breaking Ground. Tickets are free, but the company asks for a food donation in lieu.
JONATHAN BISS at Washington Irving High School (Dec. 8, 7:30 p.m.). Another pianist in a striking lineup assembled by the Peoples’ Symphony this season, Biss plays core repertoire by Haydn, Beethoven, Mozart and Schumann.
CHAMBER MUSIC SOCIETY OF LINCOLN CENTER at Alice Tully Hall (Dec. 9, 5 p.m.; Dec. 11, 7:30 p.m.). The Chamber Music Society has long given performances of Bach’s “Brandenburg” Concertos during the holiday season, and now that’s expanded into a larger Baroque project. Here the instrumental players are joined by the soprano Joélle Harvey in vocal music from Handel and Bach, as well as further pieces by Quantz and Vivaldi.
MARTIN FROST at Alice Tully Hall (Dec. 12, 7:30 p.m.). Frost, one of the most charismatic and convincing clarinetists playing today, is joined by the pianist Henrik Mawe for a recital built around Brahms’s Clarinet Sonata No. 2.
JUILLIARD ORCHESTRA at Alice Tully Hall (Dec. 10, 7:30 p.m.). The composer John Adams takes the rostrum to lead Juilliard’s instrumental students in his own “Doctor Atomic Symphony” — a development of his remarkably successful opera — as well as “Ciel d’hiver” by Kaija Saariaho and Brahms’s Symphony No. 4.
‘MESSIAH’ at St. Paul’s Chapel (Dec. 13-14 and 17, 7:30 p.m.; Dec. 16, 3 p.m.). In our survey of the city’s many versions of Handel’s masterpiece last year, my colleagues called Trinity Wall Street’s “perhaps the essential New York ‘Messiah,’” and they weren’t wrong. Julian Wachner conducts the Trinity Baroque Orchestra and the Choir of Trinity Wall Street in a reading that has been fiercely dramatic in music that can too often be treated as a comfy part of the festive scenery. A somewhat starrier option, if that’s your thing, is available from the New York Philharmonic (Dec. 11-15, 7:30 p.m., David Geffen Hall), which this year has drafted the conductor Jonathan Cohen to lead a cast that includes the countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo.
ANNA NETREBKO at Carnegie Hall (Dec. 9, 2 p.m.). Under the title “Day and Night,” the superstar soprano gives a recital that covers an immense amount of ground. With Malcolm Martineau at the piano, she sings Rachmaninoff, Rimsky-Korsakov, Tchaikovsky, Debussy, Strauss and more. The mezzo Jennifer Johnson Cano and the violinist David Chan are on hand to help.
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