Our guide to the city’s best classical music and opera happening this weekend and in the week ahead.
APOLLO’S FIRE at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (Dec. 16, 2 p.m.). Holiday “traditions” abound in classical programming at this time of year, markers to orient yourself by and reliable standbys for institutions. But this Cleveland-based period instrument ensemble can always be counted on for something a little different. Led by its artistic director, Jeannette Sorrell, and joined by dancers and the singers Amanda Powell and Ross Hauck, this program, titled “Christmas on Sugarloaf Mountain: An Irish-Appalachian Celebration,” explores a Celtic Christmas.
CHAMBER MUSIC SOCIETY OF LINCOLN CENTER at Alice Tully Hall (Dec. 14 and 18, 7:30 p.m.; Dec. 16, 5 p.m.). The society’s annual performances of Bach’s “Brandenburg” Concerts are a particularly beloved festive favorite. Notable instrumentalists this year include the flutist Adam Walker, a principal at the London Symphony, and the oboist James Austin Smith, of the International Contemporary Ensemble.
JEREMY DENK at Zankel Hall (Dec. 16, 3 p.m.). Four hours of music, an overflowing feast with Denk at the keyboard and a violinist — Benjamin Beilman, Pamela Frank and Stefan Jackiw — for each of three courses. Most of the selections are by Mozart, a heaping helping of his violin sonatas, but there are also amuse bouches by Ravel, Adams, Handel, Stravinsky, Webern and Schubert.
INTERNATIONAL CONTEMPORARY ENSEMBLE at the Areté Gallery (Dec. 16, 3 p.m.). ICE celebrates the solstice — yes, there’s a pun — with a look back at albums released by its exceptionally gifted players over the past year. Admission is free to this six-hour party, albeit with a suggested donation, and there are performances on the hour of pieces by Du Yun, Anna Thorvaldsdottir, Nathan Davis and more.
‘THE LITTLE MATCH GIRL PASSION’ at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (Dec. 15, 7 p.m.). Sometimes I wonder if Julian Wachner and his forces at Trinity Wall Street ever rest, but apparently not. On their spare day between accounts of “Messiah,” the Choir of Trinity Wall Street and the Trinity Baroque Orchestra head uptown to perform David Lang’s Pulitzer Prize-winning classic, based on the Hans Christian Andersen story, as well as Handel’s “Dixit Dominus.”
‘THE MAGIC FLUTE’ at the Metropolitan Opera (Dec. 19, 7:30 p.m.; through Jan. 5). Julie Taymor’s production of “Die Zauberflöte” returns in its adapted form for the holiday season, running in English and without intermission. Harry Bicket conducts a cast that includes Erin Morley as Pamina, Ben Bliss as Tamino, Nathan Gunn as Papageno, Morris Robinson as Sarastro and Kathryn Lewek as the Queen of the Night.
‘OTELLO’ at the Metropolitan Opera (Dec. 14, 8 p.m.; Dec. 17, 7:30 p.m.; through Jan. 10). Bartlett Sher’s production is back for the first time since its debut in 2015, but the headline here is the Met debut of Gustavo Dudamel, the superstar conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Sonya Yoncheva returns as Desdemona, with Stuart Skelton in the title role and Zeljko Lucic as Iago.
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