THURSDAY DECEMBER 19



HANDEL'S MESSIAH

It ain't Xmas without Handel's Messiah. Gerry Schwarz leads an array of soloists, the Seattle Symphony Chorale, and the Seattle Symphony in what is sure to be a lush performance of this holiday treasure. Hallelujah! Also Fri-Sat Dec 20-21 at 8 pm, and Sun Dec 22 at 2 pm. Benaroya Hall, 200 University St, 215-4747, 7:30 pm, $16-$55.

ESO STEEL/CLIMAX GOLDEN TWINS

Eso Steel is the moniker of New Zealander Richard Francis, who melds field recordings and bedroom studio electronics into otherworldly sonic vistas. Sharing the bill is Seattle's mercurial Climax Golden Twins; they intend to leave the usual assortment of electronics at home and improvise with acoustic instruments. Polestar Music Gallery, 1412 18th Ave at E Union, 329-4224, 8 pm, $7.

FRIDAY DECEMBER 20



SEATTLE BAROQUE

Here's some not-so-common Christmas music for string orchestra with flute, harpsichord, and lute: Arcangelo Corelli's Christmas Concerto, Michel Corette's Sinfonies de Noels, and Heinrich Biber's Mystery Sonata I, subtitled "The Annunciation." Oh, there's also a concerto by Vivaldi. Also Sat Dec 21 at the Recital Hall at Benaroya at 8 pm. University Christian Church, 4731 15th Ave NE, 322-3118, 8 pm, $18-$27.

SATURDAY DECEMBER 21



MEDIEVAL WOMEN'S CHOIR

As a kid I loved Marvel Comics' Marvel Team-Up series. In each issue, Spider-Man and a randomly chosen superhero (often an improbable partner like Jack of Hearts or Iceman) would trade wisecracks, argue, and fight evildoers. This gig, a musical portrayal of a fictional meeting between two influential women of the 12th century, Eleanor of Aquitaine and Hildegard of Bingen, should be just as fun. Between assorted medieval songs, both characters plan to debate the merits of a monastic versus a court education for young ladies. Town Hall, Eighth and Seneca, 652-4255, 11 am, free.

SUNDAY DECEMBER 22



YOUNG CAROLERS

Four of St. James Cathedral's youth choirs, the Schola Cantorum, the young women's ensemble Jubilate!, the St. Cecilia Singers, and the St. Gregory Choir, sing traditional favorites as well as carols from around the world. Cathedral organists Joseph Adam and Clint Kraus, along with members of the Cathedral Chamber Orchestra, accompany the choirs. To top it off, they have an Orff Percussion Ensemble, a set of "can't miss" percussion instruments in which every note is the right one. St. James Cathedral, 804 Ninth Ave, 382-4874, 7:30 pm, $10.

MONDAY DECEMBER 23



THE NUTCRACKER

Though right now I'm really hankering for a Stravinsky/Balanchine festival (AGON, Movements, Rubies, etc.), I would be remiss not to mention Tchaikovsky's beloved ballet The Nutcracker, choreographed by Pacific Northwest Ballet co-director Kent Stowell. Maurice Sendak, famed for Where the Wild Things Are, designed the sets and costumes. Also Thurs-Fri Dec 19-20 at 7:30 pm, Sat Dec 21 at 2 and 7:30 pm, and Sun Dec 22 at 1 and 5:30 pm. Paramount Theatre, Ninth and Pine, 292-2787, 2 and 7:30 pm, $15.50-$101.50.

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