Unless you’re living in a Julia Roberts romcom, there’s only one time of year when Handel’s classic chorus ‘Hallelujah’ can be heard every day of the month, and that’s December, when every Danish church is filled with the sound of operatic voices singing his Messiah, an oratorio which regales the story of Christ’s birth, crucifixion, resurrection, ascension, and return to our collective amazement (unless, of course, you’re Julia Roberts, in which case it just means you’ve got a new idea).
But before feisty redheads were having epiphanies to the bombastic ‘Hallelujah’ chorus, it had found another big fan in King George II, who was so impressed by the music that he stood up to show his appreciation. He must have had pretty good music taste, as this particular custom has passed into tradition and is still followed today.
Meanwhile, performing Messiah during the Christmas season has been taken into the hearts and traditions of the Yuletide-loving Danes, so even if you’re more into Christmas than Christianity, do as the Danes and make your way to one of the following churches for a musical bout of ‘julehygge’ to put you into the Christmas spirit – just don’t be lulled into a Christmas comatose and forget to stand for the Hallelujah chorus. You don’t want to be that guy.
Various venues across Cph; between now and Christmas
There’s no better place to listen than Copenhagen Cathedral, a sizeable venue with great acoustics.
Vor Frue Kirke (Copenhagen Cathedral), Nørregade 8, Cph K; 16:00 on Dec 15; tickets 127-187kr, www.billetnet.dk; www.akor.dk
Performed in Christians Kirke’s beautiful baroque room, Niels Borksand directs Sinfonietta Arctica and soloists Elsebeth Dreisig, Elisabeth Hanke, and Stig Fogh Andersen.
Christians Kirke, Strandgade 1, Cph K; 15:30 on Sat & Dec 15; tickets 192kr, www.billetnet.dk; www.christianskirke.dk
The Sokkelund Choir will sock it to them at Garnisons Kirke.
Garnisons Kirke, Skt Annæ Plads 4, Cph K; 16:00 on Dec 14; tickets 112-197kr; www.billetnet.dk
A performance on the city’s main walking street. You can either pay or hang around outside and have a freebie.
Helligaandskirken, Niels Hemmingsensgade 5, Cph K; 19:00 on Dec 19 & Dec 20; tickets 192kr, www.billetnet.dk; www.helligaandskirken.dk
Euphonia Chamber Choir with guests
This concert will feature some of the country’s finest soloists including Elisabeth Jansson and Niels Jørgen Riis, Ole Reuss Schmidt at the conductor’s podium, and the Euphonia Chamber Choir.
Frederiks Kirke, Marmokirken; Frederiksgade 4, Cph K; 16:00 on Sat & Sun 16:00; tickets 212kr, www.billetnet.dk; www.marmorkirken.dk
Mogens Dahl Chamber Choir
The Mogens Dahl Chamber Choir takes on the church’s answer to opera in a performance of Messiah that focuses on the underlying message of love and creation − something easily forgotten when we’re stressed about just what we should buy Grandma Pearl this year.
Holmens Kirke, Holmens Kanal 21, Cph K; Wed & Thu 19:30; tickets 167-267kr, www.billetnet.dk; www.holmenskirke.dk