Common prayer: Handel’s Messiah
For Santa Fe concertgoers, the official start of the Christmas season is the annual intonation of Handel’s Messiah by the Santa Fe Symphony Orchestra & Chorus. Handel composed this beloved oratorio between Aug. 22 and Sept. 14, 1741, which means it celebrated its 275th birthday only a couple of months ago. Gary Thor Wedow returns to conduct the Santa Fe concerts, in which the soloists are also familiar from past incarnations of this event: soprano Devon Guthrie, mezzo-soprano Daryl Freedman, tenor Joshua Dennis, and bass-baritone Joseph Beutel. Performances take place at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 19, and 4 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 20, in both cases at the Lensic Performing Arts Center, 211 W. San Francisco St. Tickets ($25-$80, with discounts for the young) are available directly through the symphony, at 505-983-1414 or 800-480-1319, or through www.ticketssantafe.org, 505-988-1234. — James M. Keller
What a range: Claudia Villela
Brazilian singer Claudia Villela, coming to the Museum Hill Café on Friday, Nov. 18, possesses a rich voice that she uses in a hugely inventive variety of ways — haunting sustained notes, staccato percussion, and as horn, wah-wah, and didgeridoo — and sometimes she sings actual words in both Portuguese and English. Her five-octave range can seem to inhabit territories all the way from piccolo to trombone, and her musical moods run the gamut from dramatic or romantic to purely celestial to comedically operatic. The phenom grew up in Rio de Janeiro and has been a California resident since 1984. She performs here with accordionist and pianist Vitor Gonçalves. The music, presented by the Santa Fe Music Collective, begins at 7 p.m. in the café at 710 Camino Lejo. Call 505-983-6820 for availability. — Paul Weideman If music be the food of love: Twelfth Night William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, directed by Brian Gillespie and starring students of Santa Fe University of Art and Design’s Performing Arts Department, opens Friday, Nov. 18, at 7 p.m. at the Greer Garson Theatre (1600 St. Michael’s Drive). This production of the gender-bending romantic comedy is set on the French Mediterranean coast, circa 1960. A shipwreck separates Viola from her twin brother, Sebastian. She washes ashore in Illyria and disguises herself as a boy named Cesario so that she can get a job, and Shakespearean chaos ensues. Additional performances are at 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 19; 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 20; and 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Dec. 2 and 3. Tickets, $15 (discounts available), can be purchased at www.ticketssantafe.org or at the Greer Garson Theatre box office the evening of the show. — Jennifer Levin
Dark passage: Arc Iris
Stumble through the catacombs to the center of the House of Eternal Return and trance out to the hypnotic strains of Arc Iris, a darkly melodious band from Providence, Rhode Island. Their new album, Moon Saloon (Bella Union), pushes the boundaries of pop instrumentation past the familiar and into a murky underground, creating a curious tension with lead singer Jocie Adams’ unfussy lyrical approach. She eschews linguistic flourishes in favor of more direct sentiments, which she wails in a ghostly voice that seems to be trying to break free of ancient constraints. Arc Iris plays at the Meow Wolf Art Complex (1352 Rufina Circle, 505-395-6369) on Sunday, Nov. 21, at 8 p.m. (doors open at 7 p.m.). Tickets — $12 in advance, $15 on the day of the show — are available at www.meowwolf.com. — J.L.