December 24 to 26
Stingray Classica celebrates Christmas with a string of seasonal favorites! From Saturday, December 24 to Monday, December 26, these enchanting ballets, celebratory oratorios, and spiritual concerts offer a colorful palette of captivating seasonal programs for everyone. Invite these holiday classics home to become part of your holiday tradition! Notable highlights include the premiere of J. S. Bach's Christmas Oratorio (BWV 248) as presented by the Thomanerchor Leipzig and the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra on December 24, and an enchanting interpretation of Engelbert Humperdinck's Hansel and Gretel from the Semperoper Dresden on December 25. Be sure not to miss the other Christmas stalwarts on Stingray Classica, which naturally include Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s ballets The Nutcracker and Swan Lake. Concluding the Christmas programming on a spiritual note, Stingray Classica broadcasts a choice of J. S. Bach’s Christmas cantatas performed by Collegium Vocale Gent under the baton of Philippe Herreweghe.
Baroque Christmas Concert
Saturday, December 24 | 00:00
This splendid Christmas concert was recorded live from the Freiburg Cathedral in 1999. It features soprano Barbara Bonney, recognized worldwide for the clarity of her voice and the precision of her diction, and the baritone Matthias Goerne, one of the most promising singers of his generation. Accompanied by the Baroque Orchestra of Freiburg and the German Brass, they perform pieces from Bach's Christmas Oratorio (BWV 248), Mozart's Mass in C minor (KV 427), and Handel's Messiah.
J. S. Bach - Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248
Saturday, December 24 | 21:00
Every year, many ensembles announce the holiday season with a festive performance of Johannes Sebastian Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248. The composer’s Christmas Oratorio consists of six cantatas, each originally intended to debut on one of the major feast days of the Christmas period. The work premiered in 1734 at St. Thomas Church in Leipzig, Germany. In the same church, Gotthold Schwarz, the seventeenth Thomaskantor, leads the St. Thomas Boys Choir Leipzig and the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig in a performance of Bach’s choral masterpiece. Among the soloists are Dorothee Mields (soprano), Elvira Bill (alto), Patrick Grahl (tenor, evangelist), Markus Schäfer (tenor, arias), and Klaus Häger (bass). This performance was recorded in 2018.
Handel - Messiah, HWV 56
Sunday, December 25 | 10:00
The Messiah (HWV 56) by Georg Frederich Handel, also known as “A New Sacred Oratorio”, tells the life and suffering of Christ: a story of passion, fire, and sacrifice. This is one of Handel's best-known works, which took only three weeks to compose this oratorio and its famous "Hallelujah". The work has immense popularity since its premiere in Dublin in 1742, and is often presented at Easter. This performance of the Dutch ensemble Ribattuta Musica under the direction of conductor Dick Duijst was filmed in the grand church of the city of Ermelo, the Netherlands, in 2016. The soloists are Elvire Beekhuizen (soprano), Rosina Fabius (viola), Oscar Verhaar (counter-tenor) Satriya Krisna (tenor), and Hans Voschezang (bass). Ribattuta Musica is a professional ensemble that delivers authentic performances based on current musical practices at the time of the composers.
Tchaikovsky - The Nutcracker
Sunday, December 25 | 14:00
Toulouse-based Ballet du Capitole performs Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's famous ballet The Nutcracker in a choreography by Kader Belarbi. The Nutcracker, an 1892 ballet in two acts which was originally choreographed by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov, is based on E. T. A. Hoffmann's story 'The Nutcracker and the Mouse King'. This performance was recorded at Théâtre du Capitole in Toulouse, France on December 28, 2018.
Humperdinck - Hänsel und Gretel
Sunday, December 25 | 21:00
Recorded at the Semperoper Dresden in 2006, the orchestra of the Sächsische Staatskapelle is directed by Michael Hofstetter in a production of Engelbert Humperdinck’s Hänsel und Gretel. Soloists are Irmgard, Vilsmaier, Hans-Joachim Ketelsen, Antigone Papoulkas and Iris Vermillion. The composer of Hansel and Gretel, Engelbert Humperdinck, wrote was born in Germany in 1854. In the 1890s, his sister, Adelheid Wette, had written a libretto based on the Grimm fairy tale, and asked her brother to set it to music as a Christmas entertainment for her children. Later, Engelbert and Adelheid decided to turn this modest home project into a full-scale opera. Hansel and Gretel, premiered on December 23, 1893 at Weimar, was an instant hit and remains an everlasting masterpiece. The composer Richard Strauss, who was the assistant conductor for the premiere, called it "a masterwork of the first rank."
Mirabile Mysterium - A Christmas Tale
Monday, December 26 | 10:00
Conductor Paul Van Nevel and his Huelgas Ensemble present the ideal Christmas program, consisting of an atmospheric musical selection of 14th to 19th-century compositions. The Huelgas Ensemble, which has emerged as one of Europe's premiere vocal ensembles dedicated to the performance of music from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, is the ideal candidate for the job, conveying all the mystery and luster a Christmas celebration calls for. Van Nevel organized his varied musical selection in four distinct themes: ‘The Birth in Bethlehem’, ‘The Crime of Herodes’, ‘The Travel of the Three Kings’, and an Epilogue. In 2015, the full program was performed and recorded at the baroque St. Augustine Church currently known as AMUZ in Antwerp, Belgium. ‘The Birth in Bethlehem’ opens and closes with pieces by unidentified composers, 'Balaam de quo Vaticinans' and 'A Carol for Christmas Eve' respectively. The core of this section is made up of Jacobus Gallus's 'Myrabile Mysterium' and Jerónimo Luca's 'Este nino que es sol del Aurora'. ‘The Crime of Herodes’ opens with 'Hostis Herodes Impie' by an unidentified composer, followed by Jean Mouton's 'Interrogabat Magos Herodes', Giaches De Wert's 'Vox in Rama', and Bertram Luard-Selby's 'A Voice from Ramah was There Sent'. ‘The Travel of the Three Kings Melchior, Caspar and Balthazar’ opens with 'Vincti Presepio' (anonymous), followed by Pierre De Manchicourt's 'Reges Terrae', Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck's 'Ab Oriente', and Peter Cornelius 'Drei Könige Wandern'. Lastly, the Epilogue consists of 'Quae Stella Sole Pulchrior' (anonymous) and António Marques Lésbio's 'Dexen que Ilore mi Niño'.
Ice Dance: Swan Lake (2015)
Monday, December 26 | 14:00
The Imperial Ice Stars are an ensemble of 24 world class skaters, holding more than 300 competition medals between them. Praised by critics and audiences alike, they never fail to enchant with creative and powerful story-telling, sumptuous sets, spectacular special effects and opulent costumes. Set to the original score of Tchaikovsky's masterpiece, the Imperial Ice Stars present their 2015 Ice Dance interpretation of Swan Lake, complete with an exhilarating choreography from leading ice director Tony Mercer. “Inspired by my research into Tchaikovsky’s original score and intentions for the story, I wanted to create a more realistic interpretation of this much-loved tale and transpose it onto ice, creating a new art form in the process – ice dance in a full theatrical setting,” the choreographer explains. “I always felt it was a natural fit, to have swans gliding on ice.”
Bach - Christmas Cantatas
Monday, December 26 | 21:00
The Collegium Vocale Gent has built its reputation as one of the world's most prestigious choirs. Founded by conductor Philippe Herreweghe, their lively, musical approach strives for an authentic sound. This concert was recorded on December 23, 2015, at the Church of Saint-Roch in Paris. Owing to J. S. Bach's function as the Thomaskantor, the leading cantorate of Protestant Germany at the time, he composed many cantatas for the Lutheran liturgy. These Christmas cantatas are an invitation to reflect on the nature of Christmas. The orchestration evokes feelings of splendor while the counterpoint also carries on a festive mood. The wind instruments act as glorious messengers of joy and the soloists proclaim that the glory brings light. This unique program, consisting of the four cantatas BWV 40, 62 , 63 and 91, offers an elegant and very delicate interpretation of these works. Under the baton of Philippe Herreweghe, the Collegium Vocale delivers an interpretation free of exaggeration or vanity yet full of humility. A glorious concert in the spirit of Christmas.
Silent Night, Holy Night
Monday, December 26 | 22:25
This Christmas concert, recorded at the Berlin Schauspielhaus on the Gendarmeriemarkt, was one of the first joint musical productions of reunited Germany. Beautiful visuals of landscapes and other locations in snow and ice turn the concert into a romantic winter storybook. On the program are works by J. S. Bach, G. F. Handel and Prätorius. The Tölz Boys' Choir is led by Gerhard Schmidt-Garden, the Zagorsk Monastery Choir by Matfej Mormyl and the Staatskapelle Dresden by Ferdinand Leitner. Soloists are Maria Graf, Doris Soffel, Siegfried Jerusalem, Jochen Kowalski and Hermann Prey. Recorded in 1990 and directed by Bob Rooyens.