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A musical Christmas

By Alix Norman

’Tis the season to be jolly, and what could be more jovial than listening to a spot of fa-la-la-ing? As we move into the most musical of months, performances all over the island are set to ramp up the auditory cheer. Christmas choirs, orchestras, ensembles and carol singers will be turning the island into a tuneful winter wonderland this week, so prepare to join in the fun! Here are four performances that will bring more than a little harmony to your Christmas season…

First up is a delightful rendition of a dramatic one-act opera, Puccini’s Suor Angelica. Taking place in a holy setting both in Limassol (December 7 and 9 at St. Catherine’s Catholic Church) and Nicosia (December 11 and 12 at the Holy Cross Catholic Church), this is an opera with a suitably religious theme. The second of a trio of operas known as Il trittico (Triptych), the story follows the titular Suor Angelica through a tale of loss, repentance and forgiveness.

Angelica, once a member of an aristocratic family, has spent the last seven years in the convent, ostensibly as punishment for bearing an illegitimate baby boy. But on receiving the news that her child is no longer alive, she’s stricken with grief and resolves to kill herself. Devastated, she sings the lament ‘Senza mamma’ and drinks a poisonous concoction – forgetting in her anguish that suicide is a mortal sin. She prays for forgiveness and, as death approaches, the Virgin Mary appears to her, bringing her lost child.
Suor Angelica is an opera that’s been known to move even the most hardened of hearts so, to lighten the mood, how about a cheerfully charitable counterpoint? On December 11, the Cyprus Symphony Orchestra will hold a Solidarity Concert in collaboration with the charitable organisation Wagon of Love. Designed to “Warm your hearts and get you into the Christmas spirit”, this is a performance that features a plethora of popular classical works.

The line-up includes seasonal pieces by Bach, Praetorius, Corelli and Mozart as well as a number of rearranged Christmas arias and songs such as Caccini’s ‘Ave Maria’, Kennicott Davis’ ‘The little drummer boy’ and Ford’s ‘The angels came to sin’. With distinguished soprano Zoe Nicolaides as soloist, and under the direction of Artistic Director and Chief Conductor Alkis Baltas, this promises to be a gloriously uplifting evening that’s all about sharing. While the CySO are providing their music to all comers completely free of charge, audiences are invited to donate food for the needy prior to the performance: a good chance to get into the real spirit of the season and share the love.

With the religious and philanthropic elements of Christmas covered, it’s time to experience a little of The Magic of Christmas. Down in Larnaca the Flautissimo Limassol Flute Choir will perform at Our Lady of Graces Roman Catholic Church on December 12. Under the artistic direction of Theodoros Krasides, and with the participation of the Larnaca Municipality Choir, the event promises “a magical concert with a truly unique programme of the most famous classical orchestral Christmas music pieces” including excerpts from Tchaikovsky’s ‘Nutcracker’, Mozart’s ‘Hallelujah Chorus’, Saint Saens’ ‘Christmas Oratio’ and Strauss’ ‘Blue Danube’, this is a concert that promises to be a magical experience “which both children and grown-ups will enjoy”.

Lastly, the Cyprus Symphony orchestra are back on December 12 (Nicosia) and 13 (Paphos) with “an exciting musical journey entitled ‘From Renaissance to 20th Century’”. In collaboration with the Tala Community Council and as part of the events programme of ‘ECOE – Pafos2017’, the brass section of the orchestra will be taking audiences on a voyage of discovery. Two Canzone in majestic Venetian polychoral style by the Italian composer Giovanni Gabrielli, a Ricercare by Andrea Gabrielli, an arrangement by Alkis Baltas of the highly expressive French chanson ‘Mille Regretz’ by the Franco-flemish composer Josquin des Prez, and the jubilant dance ‘La Mourisque’ by

Flemish composer Tielman Susatoare all on the musical menu, with a spot of Bach and Bernstein thrown into the mix. Just what you to trumpet in the magic of Christmas!

Suor Angelica
Puccini’s opera takes place in Limassol on Dec 7, 8 and 9 and in Nicosia on Dec 11 and 12. All performances start at 20.30. For more information call 77772422. Tickets cost €25 and are available from and selected SoEasy Kiosks

CySO Solidarity Concert
Nicosia on Dec 11 at 19.00. For further information call 22 463144 or visit Entrance is free

The Magic of Christmas
Larnaca on Dec 12 at 20.30. For more information call 99 486383 or email [email protected] Tickets cost €8

CySO Chamber Music Concerts
Dec 12 (Nicosia) and Dec 13 (Paphos). Both performances start at 17.00. For more information call 22 463144 or visit Tickets cost €5, €3 (children under 12)

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