The best carol concerts in Manchester: Fa la la la la, la la la la

Emma Nuttall

From classic family services to a bit of alternative cabaret, our favourite carol concerts in Manchester.

“The best way to spread Christmas Cheer, is singing loud for all to hear,” as Buddy the Elf wisely tells us all. From grand affairs in majestic venues to charity fundraisers and ‘alternative carolling,’ Manchester has quite the selection of musical yuletide events taking place round the city. Here are our top six.

Mother’s Ruin: Christmas Cracker at Contact

Not strictly a carol concert, this, but… we thought it worth mentioning the Mother’s Ruin: Christmas Cracker for something a bit different.  Expect scandalous Christmas cabaret featuring drag artists, comedians and hosted by Timberlina. This is a raucous set of performers from Santa’s ‘naughty-list’ – and a lot of fun. Contact, 11 December, 8.30pm, tickets £12 / £8 Conc.

Manchester Festive Happening at the Albert Hall

Manchester Camerata’s festive concerts are always popular, but the stops are firmly out for a special show in the elegant Albert Hall. With musicians positioned in every corner of this old Wesleyan Chapel, this should be an immersive and memorable performance. The set list includes Gabrieli’s Sonatas and Canzonas alongside specially selected carols; highlights include ‘Winter’ from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and Handel’s ‘Arrival of the Queen of Sheba.’ Classic chrimbo treats such as mulled wine, mulled cider and mince pies will be on offer at the bar. The Albert Hall, 13 December, 3pm, ticket prices vary

Carols by Candlelight at The Bridgewater Hall

Carols by Candlelight is a dead cert for sprinkling a bit of holiday magic into the winter. Classics like Mozart ‘Alleluia’ from Exsultate Jubilate from the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra will fill every corner of The Bridgewater Hall, accompanied by traditional favourites such as ‘Good King Wenceslas’, ‘O Little Town of Bethlehem’ and ‘O Come All Ye Faithful’. Performers will be dressed in 18th century costumes and lit by the light of hundreds of candles, providing a warming nostalgic edge. The Bridgewater Hall, 17 December, 7:30pm, ticket prices vary

The Hallé’s Christmas Sing-along at The Bridgewater Hall

Join Hallé stars Stephen Bell and Anna-Jane Casey for this ultimate family friendly Christmas Sing-along spectacular. The programme includes all the best-known festive favourites: ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’, ‘A Christmas Carnival’, ‘When a Child is Born’, ‘White Christmas’, ‘The Most Wonderful Time of the Year’ and many more. The Bridgewater Hall, 19 December, 7.30pm, tickets from £17

Manchester Pride Music Recital at the International Anthony Burgess Foundation

Manchester has the only Pride event in the world that regularly programmes classical music into its calendar. This Christmas concert is dedicated to LGBT composers and performers, and features internationally renowned artists and young, local talent to perform classics such as Schubert and Britten, alongside more cabaret turns by Cole Porter and Noel Coward in this intimate venue. International Anthony Burgess Foundation, 19 December, 7:30 pm, tickets £5

Salford Royal Choir at John Rylands

Where better to enjoy a medley or two from the Salford Royal Choir than the beautiful and atmospheric surroundings of the John Rylands Library. Stroll around the Christmas markets nearby, mug of mulled wine in hand, and stop in here for some mid-afternoon carols. John Rylands Library, 20 December, 2pm–3pm, free

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Poet Andrew McMillan. Photo Ursula Soltys.

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