The stores may already be stacked with evergreen boughs and lights, but you can fend off consumer overload with some real holiday cheer. (And yes, we have no Nutcrackers here!)
1. The holiday concerts presented by the Metropolitan Museum of Art transport listeners to the gilded times of centuries past. This year’s roster includes such fantastic early music and choral groups as Lionheart, Chanticleer, and the Baltimore Consort.
2. Phil Kline’s Unsilent Night started out in 1992 as a small-scale caroling evening with audience members and performers carrying boomboxes from Washington Square Park to Tomkins Square Park. Since then, it has morphed into an international phenomenon.
3. New York City hosts scores of Messiahs each December, but undoubtedly among the best are the performances helmed by the exacting and impassioned conductor and organist Kent Tritle with Musica Sacra on December 21 and 22 at Carnegie Hall.
4. The Metropolitan Opera’s charming and ingenious family-oriented presentations during Yuletide continue this year with Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel. Though sung in English and wonderful for younger children, the production doesn’t amp down the artistic quality: the H&G cast includes Angelika Kirchschlager and Philip Langridge.
5. The annual holiday concert at the New York Philharmonic is a classic for good reason, featuring the Phil’s principal brass players as well as the West Point Band’s brass and percussion players.