As the days get shorter, Manchester’s music calendar gets busier – with the city’s music venues burst from the seams with live music for you to enjoy. So whether it’s an acclaimed classical ensemble or opera company in a world-renowned concert hall or that up-and-coming young artist in a packed, sweaty venue, we’ve got your gig-going plans covered – with occasional musical highlights from around the region thrown in for good measure…
Here are our top 5 picks
RNCM Opera tackles Jacques Offenbach’s operetta La Vie Parisienne to mark the 150th anniversary of its premiere. While Offenbach’s popular original was set in 1860s Paris, this English version (by Scottish political satirist Alistair Beatonet) places this tangled tale of relationships in the 1930s. Full of wit and romance, it promises to be an intriguing retelling of this famous piece – for seasoned opera-goers and debutants alike.
Cameroonian singer Coco Mbassi makes a rare visit to the city this month, as part of Band on the Wall’s monthly contemporary African music event series, Amani Live. With styles spanning soul, gospel and jazz, as well as Latin, pop and classical music, expect to be taken on a musical journey by Mbassi – who has toured the world and played the likes of Womad and Louisiana International Festival. Support comes from the Amani collective, featuring up-and-coming Congolese and Cameroonian musicians.
Disgraceland, a new night curated and featuring musician Richard Hawley, includes both DJ and live sets. In December, Hawley is joined by pianist Henri Herbert, the blues pianist who previously played in the sadly defunct Jim Jones Revue. With comparisons to Jerry Lee Lewis, expect high-energy boogie woogie piano – alongside what is likely to be an eclectic DJ set from Hawley himself.
Now a fixture on Manchester Camerata’s calendar, this festive happening returns to the suitably grand Albert Hall. On the programme for 2016 are popular pieces Bach and Vivaldi, plus Corelli’s Concerto grosso in G minor, Op. 6, No. 8 – more catchily known as his Christmas Concerto. Norwegian trumpeter Tine Thing Helseth will be directing this festive occasion, which also features a selection of traditional carols. Plus obligatory mince pies and mulled wine.
Manchester’s own Baked A La Ska round off the year with their annual Christmas Party. The 11-piece, featuring three lead singers, a harmonica player, brass and rhythm sections, will be performing festive ska favourites such as When You Wish Upon A Ska and Harmonica for Christmas. End 2016 on a high with this ‘heavy heavy sound’.