A guide to this month’s Handel heavy-up
the Soulful handel Dec. 7 to 9, Fleck Dance Theatre
Ballet Creole performs to Grammy-winning record producer Quincy Jones’s more modern version of Handel’s oratorio. The joyful, dance-along rendition incorporates tap, African-Caribbean, ballet, jazz and contemporary styles.
the well-rounded handel Dec. 17 to 23, Roy Thomson Hall
George Frideric Handel’s famous oratorio made its stage debut in Dublin in 1742. Now, it’s one of the most performed choral works in the Western world. The Toronto Symphony Orchestra offers a robust, well-paced take on the seasonal staple, with the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir tackling the richly contrapuntal choruses and a quartet of soloists bringing many plangent arias and ensembles to life.
the Classic handel Dec. 18 to 21, Koerner Hall
Canada’s pre-eminent classical orchestra, Tafelmusik, performs a rendition of Handel’s work that’s as close to the 18th-century original as you’re likely to get. Under the spirited direction of choir founder Ivars Taurins, four soloists, a small chamber choir and the orchestra combine exuberance with pinpoint intonation to emphasize the intimacy of Handel’s work without sacrificing any of its power.
the handel Singalong Dec. 22, Roy Thomson Hall
Amateur choristers get their chance to let loose at this annual mass sing-along, backed by the Tafelmusik orchestra. It has its share of laughs, thanks to a stand-in Herr Handel on the podium (a.k.a. music director Ivars Taurins costumed in a white powdered wig and 18th-century glad rags).