December 2010-January 2011

There?s a wide range of festive fare on offer at Town Hall and Symphony Hall as the
two venues swing into life for the Christmas season. Jazz, gospel, ballet, musicals,carol singing, popular and classical music plus a staged production of We?re Going on aBear Hunt all feature in the halls? packed schedule. Star names include the StPetersburg Ballet Theatre, Cecilia Bartoli, Hayley Westenra, Harry Enfield and AlistairMcGowan, and there are visits from Town Hall Gospel Choir, Black Voices and Voces8,alongside Symphony Hall?s popular traditional Christmas Festival.

For youngsters, there?s a fun-filled stage adaptation of Michael Rosen?s award-winning story We?re Going on a Bear Hunt at Town Hall (21 December – 12 January). Featuring catchy songs, interactive scenes and hands-on adventure, the show is perfect for children aged 3 and upwards.

Symphony Hall?s traditional Christmas Festival includes such perennial favourites as Christmas Carol Singalong, Four Seasons by Candlelight and Johann Strauss Gala. Christmas Eve Classics includes traditional and seasonal music with the Lichfield Cathedral Girls Choir and Birmingham Choral Union, while Christmas Wishes features Hayley Westenra and the Raven Quartet. The Sound of the Musicals sees a return visit from Jessie Buckley in Broadway and West End showstoppers, and there?s an evening of film music by the celebrated composer John Williams including ET, Star Wars, Harry Potter and Schindler?s List. Heralding the New Year is a matinee performance of the popular New Year?s Eve Gala and, on New Year?s Day, Alistair McGowan reprises his role as The Mikado in a semi-staged concert performance of Gilbert & Sullivan?s operetta.

At Town Hall, the BBC Big Band celebrates Christmas with special guest Paul Carrack in a concert of seasonal favourites and songs from Paul?s new album. The UK?s leading gospel artist and Premier Christian Radio presenter, Muyiwa/Riversongz, leads an evening of uplifting and worshipful music with the Town Hall Gospel Choir, and there?s a pairing of two of Britain?s leading a cappella groups – Black Voices and Voces8 for a night of great singing. City Organist Thomas Trotter leads the audience in the annual favourites – Sing Carols with the City Organist at Town Hall and Lunchtime Christmas Music at Symphony Hall.

There are shows from the Roy Wood Rock and Roll Band, forever linked to the Christmas season by the hit I Wish it Could be Christmas Every Day, and from Maddy Prior & The Carnival Band with a blend of familiar and not-so-familiar seasonal music, both at Town Hall. The Ukulele Orchestra celebrates its quarter century with a silver jubilee tour, and Belle and Sebastian, backed by the 40-piece London Contemporary Orchestra, tour for the first time since 2006, both visiting Symphony Hall.

The renowned mezzo soprano Cecilia Bartoli makes a welcome return to Symphony Hall with a journey through the extraordinary world of the 18th-century castrati, the celebrities of their day, who held their audiences spellbound with their dazzling vocal display. Also at Symphony Hall, an evening of rare and evocative music conjuring up snowy landscapes and gold-encrusted domes: the Russian Patriarchate Choir of 12 male voices are the authentic sound of Russian Orthodox church music and folk songs, much of which was suppressed by the Soviet regime. Over at Town Hall, in Divine Music for Trumpets and Voices, Harry Enfield assumes the role of the composer Handel, reminiscing to the audience in a performance which combines some of the composer?s most thrilling music with an informative, moving, and at times humorous dialogue.

Concluding the festive season in style the St Petersburg Ballet Theatre bring their exciting production of Tchaikovsky?s ballet The Nutcracker to Symphony Hall for two performances in the New Year (8 & 9 January). One of the few genuine Russian ballet companies, the troupe is known for its sumptuous set designs, opulent costumes and authentic choreography, and the jewel in its crown – the stunning Prima Ballerina Irina Kolesnikova.

Concert tickets and gift vouchers make ideal Christmas presents and can be booked online, and gift vouchers can be personalised with the recipient?s name and a personal message. Concerts take place across Town Hall & Symphony Hall Birmingham in December and January. Full details, tickets and gift vouchers are available from the Box Office on 0121 780 3333 or www.thsh.co.uk.


Note to Editors


Fri 3 December, 8pm, Town Hall – The Roy Wood Rock & Roll Band
Sat 4 December, 7.30pm, Town Hall – Divine Music for Trumpets and Voices with Harry Enfield
Sun 5 December, 3pm, Symphony Hall – Cecilia Bartoli: Sacrificium
Mon 6 December, 8pm, Town Hall – Maddy Prior & The Carnival Band – Carols & Capers Mon 6 December, 8pm, Symphony Hall – Belle and Sebastian
Tues 7 December, 7.30pm, Symphony Hall – Russian Patriarchate Choir of Moscow, by Candlelight
Wed 8 December, 1pm, Symphony Hall – Lunchtime Christmas Music with Thomas Trotter Fri 10 December, 7.30pm, Town Hall – A Swinging Christmas with the BBC Big Band & Paul Carrack
Sat 11 December, 7.30pm, Town Hall – Muyiwa/Riversongz & Town Hall Gospel Choir
Mon 13 December, 1pm, Town Hall – Sing Carols with the City Organist Wed 15 December, 7.30pm, Symphony Hall – Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain
Fri 17 December, 7.30pm, Town Hall – Black Voices & Voces8
Fri 17 December, 7.30pm, Symphony Hall – Carols by Candlelight
Sun 19 December, 7.30pm, Symphony Hall – Christmas Wishes with Hayley Westenra Tues 21 December – Weds 12 January (selected dates, see web page for full list) – We?re Going on a Bear Hunt
Fri 24 December, 3pm, Symphony Hall – Christmas Eve Classics
Tues 28 December, 3pm, Symphony Hall – Four Seasons by Candlelight Tues 28 December, 7.30pm, Symphony Hall – John Williams: The Greatest Movie Music
Weds 29 December, 7.30pm, Symphony Hall – The Sound of Musicals
Thurs 30 December, 7.30pm, Symphony Hall – Beethoven?s Ninth
Fri 31 December, 3pm & 9.30pm, Symphony Hall – New Year?s Eve Gala
Sat 1 January, 7.30pm, Symphony Hall – The Mikado
Sat 8 January, 7.30pm & Sunday 9 January, 2.30pm, Symphony Hall – Irina Kolesnikova with St Petersburg Ballet Theatre: The Nutcracker

Town Hall and Symphony Hall are managed together by Performances Birmingham Limited, a registered charity, no 1053937. Between them, the two halls present an exciting and varied programme of over 600 concerts and events a year, designed to appeal to people of all ages and backgrounds. Over 500,000 people visit Town Hall and Symphony Hall annually, and a thriving Education & Community department reaches a further 10,000 people of all ages.

Town Hall Birmingham re-opened in October 2007 following a £35m renovation funded by Birmingham City Council (£18.3m), Heritage Lottery Fund (£13.7m), European Regional Development Fund (£3m).
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ON-LINEBOOKING www.thsh.co.uk
*(£2 fee per transaction on all bookings except those made in person at the box office)
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Fiona Fraser/Lyle Bignon
Press & PR Manager/Assistant Press & PR Manager
E Fiona.fraser@thsh.co.uk/lyle.bignon@thsh.co.uk
T 0121 644 5008/0121 644 6028 (Direct)

Issued 14 October 2010