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Cultural Arts in December
December 2012

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As the year 2012 A.D. prepares to go into the history books, here in New Orleans we're making sure it goes out with a flourish. The lively cultural season that began in September and continued through a star-studded autumn goes into its festive holiday mode with special concerts and events celebrating the "Season of Joy and Giving."

Two staples of the Holiday Season, Tchaikovsky's "Nutcracker" and Handel's "Messiah," are on the boards as are other fun seasonal offerings. Yuletide concerts by the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra will get you into the Christmas spirit with festive music while Bon Operatit!, a classical vocal trio, will get you into the same holiday spirit with their talented voices. The Jefferson Performing Arts Society will take you to the Emerald Isle for "A Celtic Christmas." Southern Repertory Theatre takes you to "Christmas Past, Present and Future" with Charles Dickens' timeless classic, "A Christmas Carol," starring local favorite Spud McConnell as Scrooge.

And, in a different spirit, "Mary Poppins" floats down from the sky as Broadway in New Orleans transports the unflappable governess to New Orleans for her first-ever visit here. New Orleans Ballet's holiday gift of Ballet Hispanico mambos, cha-chas and rumbas across the stage at the Mahalia Jackson Theater.

Read on for more details about the December cultural lineup:

A Christmas Carol
Through December 16, 2012

Venue: Contemporary Arts Center
Presenting Organization: Southern Repertory Theater
Tickets: Southern Repertory Theater

Charles Dickens' timeless classic, "A Christmas Carol," is being performed through mid-December as Southern Rep's holiday offering for 2012. Described as "a play with music" adapted by Doris Baizley and directed by Ann Mahoney Kadar, the production stars John "Spud" McConnell as the irascible but ultimately redeemable Ebenezer Scrooge.

The production features a traveling troupe of actors who enact this unforgettable classic with music, dance, clowns and visual effects. This special production rings in the holiday season with plenty of cheer, wit and family fun. It is "family-friendly," recommended for all ages.

Performance times vary, with evening shows, weekend matinees and student matinees. Call the CAC box office at 504-522-6545 or go online to

Yuletide Celebration
December 6, 2012

Venue: Pontchartrain Center, Kenner, LA
Presenting Organization: Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra
Tickets: Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra

Join the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra in a celebration of All Saints Day as they perform two lengthy pieces of classical music with an appropriate theme for the day. Under the baton of Maestro Carlos Miguel Prieto, the 70-piece LPO will perform Richard Strauss' 1888 composition, "Death and Transfiguration" and Dmitri Shostakovich's Symphony No. 14, composed in 1969 which also deals largely with death-related themes.

Performance time is 7:30 p.m. at the First Baptist Church of New Orleans, 5290 Canal Boulevard, in the Lakeview section of New Orleans. For more detailed information, including ticket availability, call 523-6350 or visit

Ballet Hispanico
December 8, 2012

Venue: Mahalia Jackson Theater for the Performing Arts
Presenting Organization: New Orleans Ballet Association
Tickets: New Orleans Ballet Association, Ticketmaster or Mahalia Jackson Theater

Celebrated as one of the leading Hispanic-American dance companies, the sexy Ballet Hispanico teams up with the 19-member, Grammy Award-winning Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra for a sizzling hot, Latin dance party. With the company's signature dances "Club Havana" and "Tito on Timbales," the stage will ignite with the infectious rhythms of Cuban, jazz and big-band music and the stylish Latin social dances of rumba, salsa, cha-cha and mambo.

Eduardo Vilaro is the Artistic Director for Ballet Hispanico and Arturo O'Farrill is the Artistic Director of the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra. The performance is at 7:30 p.m. For tickets and information visit the New Orleans Ballet Association's website at

A "Not So Silent Night" Holiday Concert with Bon Operatit!
December 12, 2012

Venue: Four Points by Sheraton
Sponsoring Organizations: Four Points by Sheraton and Bon Operatit!
Tickets: FREE and Open to the Public; $5.00 Valet Parking Rate Available for Attendees

Bon Operatit!

A talented trio of classically trained singers, consisting of tenor Jesse Nolan, mezzo-soprano Mary Penick Akin and soprano Lauren Mouney Gisclair, Bon Operatit! offers up a wide selection of holiday classics celebrating the season.

This free performance will last from 7:00-9:00 p.m. at the Four Points by Sheraton French Quarter hotel in the heart of New Orleans' French Quarter, and the public is invited. Valet parking is available for a nominal $5 charge.

Baroque Christmas
December 13, 2012

Venue: First Baptist Church
Presenting Organization: Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra
Tickets: Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra

Join the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra in a celebration of the holidays as they salute the great composers of the Baroque era. Under the baton of guest conductor, Maestro Glenn Langdon, the 70-piece LPO will perform Francesco Veracini's "Overture No. 1 in B-flat," Bach's "Christmas Oratorio, Cantata IV" and selections from Handel's "Messiah." The Symphony Chorus of New Orleans, under the direction of Stephen Edwards, will bring the audience to its feet for a rousing round of the best-known and most beloved choral number in the entire Western musical repertoire: the "Hallelujah" chorus.

Performance time is 7:30 p.m. at the First Baptist Church of New Orleans in Lakeview. For more detailed information, including ticket availability, call 523-6350 or visit

A Celtic Christmas
December 15, 2012

Venue: Jefferson Performing Arts Center
Presenting Organization: Jefferson Performing Arts Society
Tickets: Jefferson Performing Arts Society

In keeping with a JPAS Christmas tradition, "A Celtic Christmas" returns to the stage in neighboring Jefferson Parish for a nostalgic journey to the Emerald Isle. Renowned Irish minstrel, Danny O'Flaherty, and a group of talented friends celebrate the holiday season through mesmerizing music and song, fiery dance and tantalizing storytelling that will surely kindle the Christmas spirit in every heart! Christmas the way it has been celebrated among the Celtic people for centuries. Recommended for all ages.

The show runs for approximately two hours with a 15-minute intermission. Show time is 7:30 p.m. and ticket discounts are available for children under 12, students, and seniors over 65. For more information go to

Mary Poppins
December 18-23, 2012

Venue: Mahalia Jackson Theater for the Performing Arts
Presenting Organization: Broadway Across America
Tickets: Broadway Across America, Ticketmaster or Mahalia Jackson Theater

Featuring the irresistible story and unforgettable songs from one of the most popular Disney films of all time, plus brand-new breathtaking dance numbers and spectacular stagecraft, "Mary Poppins"fulfills nearly every expectation you might have for a hit Broadway show! Call her a "governess" or a "nanny" or whatever, she is the answer to the prayers of a pair of London parents as she takes their children on a series of magical and memorable adventures.

This stage extravaganza features all the classic songs of the original movie, including "A Spoonful of Sugar," "Chim Chim Cher-ee," "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" and a few catchy new tunes. This show is fun for the whole family and parents are encouraged to bring their youngsters along for the journey.

This is the second official production of the 2012-2013 season by Broadway in New Orleans at the Mahalia Jackson Theater. Show times vary. For more information about tickets, show times and the shows themselves, patrons can visit, call the Broadway Across America Ticket Hotline at 1-800-218-SHOW (7469), fax 1-800-535-2929 or email

Opera on Tap
December 19, 2012

Venue: Four Points by Sheraton
Sponsoring Organizations: New Orleans Opera Association
Tickets: None (FREE and Open to the Public)

Opera On Tap

The New Orleans Opera Association reprises its highly popular "Opera on Tap" program of light operatic and live stage fare at various locations throughout New Orleans. The performances start at 7:00 p.m. and run until 8:30. They are free and open to the public.

Opera on Tap will perform holiday classics in the Puccini Room of the Four Points by Sheraton French Quarter hotel in the heart of the French Quarter at Bourbon and Toulouse streets. For more information visit the New Orleans Opera Association's website and Facebook page.

The Nutcracker
December 21-23, 2012

Venue: Dixon Hall, Tulane University
Presenting Organization: Delta Festival Ballet
Tickets: Delta Festival Ballet

Opera on Tap

One of the most anxiously awaited holiday events in the New Orleans area is the annual performance of "The Nutcracker" by the Delta Festival Ballet. Tchaikovsky's timeless classic is performed flawlessly by this local company founded in 1969 by brother and sister Joseph and Maria Giacobbe.

Delta's "Nutcracker" is widely acclaimed for its professionalism and beauty – a beauty that begins with the dancers (over 150 of them!), including guest artists from national and international ballet, and extends to every detail from props and costumes to scenery and lighting. The performances are enriched by the accompaniment of the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, with whom Delta has enjoyed a decades-long partnership.

Performance times are 7:00 p.m. on Friday the 21st and 2:00 p.m. on Saturday the 22nd and Sunday the 23rd. For tickets and information visit the DFB website at
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