Impending Xmas always causes a few ripples in musical spheres, mainly lousy 'Messiah' performances. Some of us batten down the hatches even if we love the thing, or the inescapable Nutcracker, or Cinderella ('Italian style' as the ROH bills its current Rossini). Anyway, I promised some alternatives, so for starters here are a few things to do.
Read, in The Independent, about Barenboim's plea for proper musical education;
Read this fascinating article from The Times by Dan Rosenberg, searching out Christmas music traditions from rural Sweden to Venezuela;
Also in The Times, experience Richard Morrison in a bad mood at Cecilia Bartoli's Barbican gig and Hilary Finch telling it like it is re Emmenuelle Haim's conducting of Bach and Handel (The One Where Dessay Fails To Show Up).
Tune into a roster of broadcasts of ballet and opera from Covent Garden on the BBC. We are promised:
Romeo and Juliet with Tamara Rojo and Carlos Acosta, BBC2, Xmas Day, 4.25pm (I was there at the show. It's glorious! Set your video if you haven't finished your turkey in time.)
Carmen starring Anna-Caterina Antonacci and Jonas Kaufmann - BBC2, Boxing Day, 1.45pm;
La fille du regiment, Pelly production with Dessay and Florez, BBC4, 30 December, 7.30pm. Still the best thing I saw all year.
And, if it floats your boat, The Tales of Beatrix Potter, with the Royal Ballet in animal masks, BBC1, New Year's Eve, 1.15pm.
Or come to Paris to see Tannhauser tomorrow (the strike is over). But what has Tannhauser to do with Christmas, you may ask? Nothing! Hooray!