Atlanta Symphony Orchestra announces plans for holiday performances

Donald Runnicles, principal guest conductor of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, will conduct the ASO during holiday performances of the opera "Hansel and Gretel." File
Caption
Donald Runnicles, principal guest conductor of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, will conduct the ASO during holiday performances of the opera "Hansel and Gretel." File

Credit: file photo

Credit: file photo

Live, in-person performances return to Symphony Hall this fall.

The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra returns to live performances this fall and winter, after a COVID-19 hiatus of a year and a half, bringing a sense of normalcy back to the Woodruff Arts Center.

Helping reinforce that feeling, the orchestra recently announced its planned program of holiday concerts.

The events will mark the return of favored traditions, including performances of Handel’s “Messiah” with the ASO Chamber Chorus and the long-time favorite “Christmas with the ASO,” an evening of carols, hymns and more, a tradition established by the late Robert Shaw.

The orchestra also has programmed newer traditions, such as an installment in the “Movies in Concert” series, with the ASO performing live to a screening of “Home Alone,” which kicks off the season.

The holiday concerts will be rounded off by performances of the Humperdinck opera, “Hansel and Gretel,” and with jazz and pop concerts by the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and by actor, singer and writer Leslie Odom Jr.

During the pandemic, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra has continued staging virtual concerts, filming their performances and streaming them online. This fall marks the return of live audiences to Symphony Hall.

Here are highlights of the holiday program:

“Home Alone” in concert, from the ASO “Movies in Concert” series, , with Scott Terrell conducting. The orchestra will perform the John Williams score to the Christmas comedy live at Symphony Hall as the movie is projected on the big screen. 7:30 p.m. Nov. 26-27; 3 p.m. Nov. 28.

“Hansel and Gretel,” a Christmas-themed opera by 19th-century composer Humperdinck, offers a sunnier version of the Grimm fairy tale. It will feature the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra under the direction of principal guest conductor Donald Runnicles, with Kelley O’Connor, Jacquelyn Stucker, Elizabeth Bishop, Stephen Powell, Michaela Martens, Meechot Marrero and the Gwinnett Young Singers. 3 p.m. Dec. 5; 8 p.m. Dec. 8.

“Christmas with the ASO,” a tradition started by ASO titan Robert Shaw, will be performed by Norman Mackenzie conducting the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus and the ASO. 8 p.m., Dec. 9; 3 p.m. and 8 p.m., Dec. 11.

“Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis” brings the trumpet virtuoso and musical director Marsalis to Atlanta Symphony Hall, at the helm of the country’s leading repertory jazz orchestra. 7:30 p.m. Dec. 12.

“The Christmas Tour” brings actor/singer/writer Leslie Odom Jr. to Symphony Hall. The Emmy-, Tony- and Grammy-winning Odom is known for portraying (and singing the songs of) Sam Cooke in the film “One Night in Miami,” and for his studio albums and his book “Failing Up.” 8 p.m. Dec. 15.

Handel’s “Messiah,” the perennial holiday choral work, will feature Norman Mackenzie conducting the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chamber Chorus. 8 p.m. Dec. 17-18.

Concerts are at Atlanta Symphony Hall, Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree St. NE, Atlanta. 404-733-4900, aso.org.