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Christmas Events in Ottawa: 11 Must-See Performances This Holiday Season



Soprano Measha Brueggergosman is joined by a number of choirs for her special Christmas concert on Dec. 19 at the National Arts Centre (Photo: Mat Dunlop)

Christmas is just around the corner and tis’ the season to attend concerts! Ottawa hosts some great performances this holiday season and WHERE Ottawa wants to help you by offering our picks of the must-see Christmas shows this season.

Ottawa Christmas Events: The Messiah
Nov. 22 and 23
The first is a 20th anniversary performance by the combined choirs (Men and Boys, Women and Girls) of St. Matthew’s Anglican Church. Conducted by Kirkland Adsett and accompanied by a professional orchestra, the choirs will sing with the finesse and intelligence the last 20 years of Messiah performances have taught them.

Dec. 17 and 18
The National Arts Centre Orchestra’s production of Messiah features choristers from across the city, including the Cantata Singers of Ottawa. A highlight of this performance will be the Bass arias sung by Ottawa native and rising superstar Philippe Sly.

Ottawa Christmas Events: The Glory of Baroque
Nov. 30
Lisette Canton and her Ottawa Bach Choir, accompanied by Montreal-based period-instrument specialists Ensemble Caprice, present The Glory of Baroque at St. Matthew’s Anglican Church. The concert features works by many masters of the era, including a fantastic Magnificat by Marc-Antoine Chapentier and the cantata Meine Seel Erhebt den Herren by that greatest of Baroque composers, J.S. Bach.


The Royal Winnipeg Ballet presents a special rendition of The Nutcracker from Dec. 4 to 8

Ottawa Christmas Events: The Nutcracker
Dec. 4 to 8
Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker is the ballet everyone associates with Christmas. The Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Canada’s premiere ballet company, performs the timeless story of a young child’s Christmas fantasy at the National Arts Centre. Expect several Canadian twists choreographed by Galina Yordanova and Nina Menon.

Ottawa Christmas Events: Big Soul Project Holiday Concert
Dec. 4
If you’re looking for great Christmas music but are tired of the same old stuffy carols, then Big Soul Project has the concert for you.  The self-described “gospel and groove choir and band,” directed by Roxanne Goodman and featuring steel pans virtuoso Bert Boldon, is bringing gospel and reggae Christmas music to Dominion-Chalmers Church.

Ottawa Christmas Events: Requiem et Lux
Dec. 6
Recently formed in 2009, the Capital Chamber Choir has been making a name for themselves in Ottawa with their excellent performances and repertoire of modern music. Their concert at Knox Presbyterian Church, Requiem et Lux, explores the transition at this time of year from darkness into light. Pieces include Herbert Howells’ Requiem and the premiere of a new work by Ottawa composer Timothy Mott.


The Barenaked Ladies share some of their hits, alongside Christmas classics, on Dec. 13 and 14

Ottawa Christmas Events: Barenaked Ladies
Dec. 13 and 14

It won’t cost you a million dollars to see the biggest holiday pop concert in Ottawa this season, but it may be worth it. The Barenaked Ladies peroform on back-to-back nights at the National Arts Centre.  The band will perform many of their massive hits as well as some holiday favourites, many likely originating from their Barenaked for the Holidays album.

Ottawa Christmas Events: Centralaires Concert Band
Dec. 15
The Centralaires Concert Band, directed by Peter Archibald and comprised of former military band members as well local musicians, will perform their annual Christmas and Holiday Favourites concert in the beautiful hanger of the Canada Aviation and Space Museum.

Ottawa Christmas Events: Measha’s Magical Christmas
Dec. 19

World-class Canadian Soprano Measha Brueggergosman will be joined by the National Arts Centre Orchestra, the Ottawa Choral Society, and the Boys Choir of Christ Church Cathedral for a night of beautiful holiday favourites including White Christmas, O Holy Night, and Little Drummer Boy. The audience will also be invited to join Measha and friends in some sing-along caroling.


The Tenors take over the National Arts Centre on Dec. 23 for a special Christmas concert

Ottawa Christmas Events: Nine Lessons and Carols
Dec. 22

Experience the magic of an English Christmas without the plane ticket. Matthew Larkin and the combined choirs of Christ Church Cathedral present their annual Nine Lessons and Carols service, England’s favourite Christmas rite. Listen to the classic Christmas lessons accompanied by timeless English carols and such modern masterpieces as A Hymn to the Mother of God by the late John Tavener.

Ottawa Christmas Events: The Tenors Christmas show
Dec. 23

The Tenors Christmas show at the National Arts Centre will be a night of beautifully arranged Christmas carols and holiday songs sung by one of Canada’s premiere quartets. These four young Canadian tenors bring an adult contemporary pop sound to their vocal arrangements which, combined with their beautiful voices and Grecian good looks, create a night of fun music at high classical music standards.

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