Don’t be a naughty boy and miss the Messiah

And don’t forget to stand during the Hallelujah or you’ll be sent to stand in the corner

For many Danes, it wouldn’t be Christmas without an evening out to listen to one of the most popular pieces ever composed, George Frideric Handel’s ‘Messiah’.

The two hour-plus masterpiece was written by the German composer in 1741 in only 24 days, taking extracts from both the Old and the New Testament to tell the story of the life of Jesus. As well as his operas, he constructed the piece in three dramatic acts: the birth and life, the passion and death, the resurrection and ascension.

Churches around the city will offer performances from early December, so if you are in town be sure to check this magnificent piece of music!

And don’t forget to stand up during the bombastic ‘Hallelujah’ chorus – a tradition since Britain’s King George II first did so during one of its first performances.

Mozart’s Messiah
Dec 3 and 4, 19:30; Koncertsalen, Ørestads Blvd 13, Cph S; 85-550kr;

Under the supervision of Italian conductor Fabio Luisi, DR has chosen to stage the Mozart arrangement this year with the Danish National Symphony Orchestra and the Danish National Concert Choir. The group of musicians and singers they have assembled are outstanding. Soloists include soprano Maureen McKay, mezzosoprano Anne Stéphany, tenor Mauro Peter and bass Christof Fischesser.

Mozart was an admirer of Handel and was asked by his contemporaries to update his piece and to add instruments that didn’t exist in Handel’s time. So be prepared for Handel’s piece like you’ve never heard it before!

Baroque version
Dec 11 & 12, 19:30; Holmens Kirke, Holmens Kanal 21, Cph K; 275kr, students 175kr; or at the door

This promises to be a distinguished performance! The Mogens Dahl Choir are this year singing Handel’s ‘Messiah’ to music performed by the London-based Age of Enlightenment baroque orchestra. Listen to the classic performed on instruments that you might not be familiar with – performed like it would have been in olden days.

Royal Chapel Orchestra
Dec 5 & 6, 16:00; Frederiks Kirke, Frederiskgade 4, Cph K; 225kr, students 125kr; or Tivoli Ticket Centre (Vesterbrogade 3, Cph V)

Conducted by Ole Reuss Schmidt, the orchestra is composed of 18 of the finest musicians of the Royal Chapel, while the singers include three well-known Danes – soprano Sine Bundgaard, mezzosoprano Elisabeth Jansson and tenor Niels Jørgen Riis – and Magne Fremmerlid, a bass from the National Opera in Oslo.

Chamber Choir Camerata
Dec 18, 20 & 21, 19:30; Holmens Kirke, Holmens Kanal 21, Cph K; 245kr,

If some of the other performance times are too early for you, you can enjoy a performance closer to Christmas courtesy of the Chamber Choir Camerata. Founded in 1956, the choir consists of 25 experienced singers conducted by Jakob Hultberg. Every year their performances tend to attract lots of people, so be sure to buy your ticket soon!

At Copenhagen Cathedral
Dec 14, 19:30; Vor Frue Kirke, Nørregade 8, Cph K; 180kr

There’s only one performance at Copenhagen Cathedral (also known as Vor Frue Kirke and Københavns Domkirke) this year. Sit back and enjoy as the Academic Orchestra of Copenhagen and the Academic Choir fill the massive venue with Handel’s classic oratorio.

Concert on Strøget
Dec 16 & 17, 19:00; Strøget, Cph K; 195kr, under-12s free adm; or at the door

Handel’s ‘Messiah’ will be performed on the ‘shopping street’ by the Copenhagen Oratorio Choir. The soloists for this night will be soprano Signe Schreiber, mezzosoprano Johanne Højlund, tenor Jonathan Koppel and bass Jacob Vad. Students under 18 only pay 100kr.

Søborg Motet Choir
Dec 12, 15:00; Sions Kirke, Østerbrogade 192, Cph Ø; 100kr, under-15s free adm; or at the door

The masterpiece will be performed by Søborg Motet Choir. Founded in 1942, the 50-member choir will be conducted by Thomas Hovgaard. Soloists include soprano Nickie Johansson, mezzosoprano Johanne Højlund, tenor Peter Hindsberger and bass Rasmus Thomsen. Tickets will be available from November 15 at the church’s office.