Christmas is just around the corner and for many people, it is the most beautiful time of the year. In just a few weeks we will light the first candle on the Advent wreath, eat the first of many Christmas biscuits and hear Christmas music stream from speakers everywhere. As the song says: “the bells never sounded sweeter than on Christmas day.” It’s because Christmas only becomes really meaningful with music. Needless to say, in Leipzig, the City of Music, you don’t have to worry about not having enough music in December! In this blog post, we have put together a list of the best events during this festive season.
The Leipzig Gewandhaus
The magical lights of the city are a real highlight for Advent. After sunset, the centre of Leipzig becomes a sea of colourful poinsettias, lanterns, stand lights mixed with the glow from numerous charcoal grills. On Augustusplatz, the Leipzig Gewandhaus, with its illuminated mural is a major source of inspiration, attracting the attention of every visitor to the Christmas market,
but of course it is not only visually impressive: it’s also home to the Gewandhaus Orchestra, the world’s largest professional orchestra, and one of the city’s most important musical institutions. It is always worth visiting the famous and breathtaking Grosses Concerts of the Gewandhaus Orchestra, which also take place in December. Tickets for the events on 5, 6, 8, 13, 14, 15 as well as 19 and 20 December are still available in various price categories. More about when and where you can see the orchestra a bit later.
Christmas is, as we all know, the festival of compassion and the time of giving. At the Gewandhaus you can enjoy music and do a good deed at the same time. On 14 December the Christmas oratorio performance will also be a benefit choir concert for the Kinderhospiz Bärenherz Leipzig e.V. (Children’s Hospice). Furthermore, the Gewandhaus choirs, as well as the children’s and youth choir, cordially invite you to their festive Christmas concert on 22 December. Lastly, before Christmas Eve officially begins the Christmas holiday, you can visit the Gewandhaus Children’s Choir on the morning of the 24th, which will hold a matinee performance of “A Christmas Story”.
In the Gewandhaus, great musical events take place practically every day, and it’s definitely worth taking a look at the programme!
We, Leipzigers, can count our blessings for many reasons, but especially because we have the next cultural sight is just around the corner. All you have to do is turn around in front of the Gewandhaus and walk across Augustusplatz and you are standing in front of the Leipzig Opera House (that is if you weren’t distracted on your way by delicious doughnuts or warm mulled wine). Here you can admire all of December’s classical ballets and operas, including Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker, which will be performed six times in December.
Puccini enthusiasts will have the opportunity to attend one of his operas with La Bohème at Christmas time. Fairy-tale opera lovers will also be able to enjoy the performances of Hansel and Gretel and Sleeping Beauty. The Gewandhausorchester will be accompanying the Leipzig Opera, meaning that you will also have the chance to hear them outside home performance space.
Leipzig Opera also has an “outpost” that you shouldn’t miss. A trip to the Westbad, to see the Musikalische Komödie, is always worthwhile. During Christmas you can also enjoy The Wizard of Oz. Padington Bear will also make his way to Leipzig just in time and can be seen seven times with his first concert in Westbad – perfect for families! You should also absolutely take a good look at the Leipzig Opera’s programme, it has tons of wonderful events in store.
The St. Thomas Choir
On Augustusplatz you have now discovered many things after having been to the Gewandhaus, the Opera House and probably also to the Fairytale Forest and the Finnish Village. If you can tear yourself away from the delicious smell of smoked salmon, the countless pottery stalls, christmas decorations and sweet pastries that will lead you along Grimmaische Strasse to the market square, you will find yourself in the heart of the Christmas market. In December, of course, it will be magically musical here too. But before you explore the stands in front of the Old Town Hall, take a look in towards Petersstraße: Only a stone’s throw away from the opera and the Gewandhaus is St. Thomas Church, home to the world-famous St. Thomas Choir.
Visiting the church at Christmas is a must for many, while others prefer to spend Christmas Eve nestled in their own four (heated) walls. A visit to the St. Thomas Church is a great musical highlight! On 20, 21 and 22 December the choir invites you to its Christmas carol evenings. But you can only get a ticket for this at Musikalienhandlung Oelsner in the Schillerstraße! You can also enjoy the choir on Christmas Eve and on Christmas Day at the Christmas Motet, the Christmas Vespers, the evening prayer or the festive service.
Of course, one event shouldn’t be missed: Every year the St. Thomas Choir and the Gewandhaus Orchestra play a magnificent Christmas oratorio in the St. Thomas Church. Tickets for this beloved event always sell out quickly, but if you hurry, you can still get tickets for 13, 14 or 15 December! Psst! Looking at the event calendar is always a good idea.
Haven’t got time to see the St. Thomas Choir on the dates mentioned? That’s not a problem, the Leipzig vocal ensemble will also be performing theirChristmas Oratorio on 6 and 7 December. Cantatas I-III and IV-VI by Johann Sebastian Bach as well as works by Johann Kuhnau sweeten the pre-Christmas season and get you in the musical mood for the coming holidays.
The Mendelssohn House
After sitting in the church a small Christmas walk is the perfect way to stretch your legs. If you walk along Petersstraße, you will pass other Christmas market stalls before reaching Wilhelm-Leuschner-Platz. View of the Mendelssohn House facade and entrance, where some concerts take place, culture, leisure, sights, music city Leipzig Why should you stop here? For all the great events!
Every Saturday at 10 am the guided tour “Following Mendelssohn’s footsteps through the City of Music Leipzig” starts at the Mendelssohn House, and begins with a tour of the museum. If, however, your feet are aching, we can definitely recommend the Sunday matinée “Mendelssohn Quartet” on22 December. The programme includes works by Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy and Luigi Cherubini. Tip: “Oper mal anders” on 2 December in Goldschmidtstraße. This is where the content of the “The Nutcracker” is prepared, which you can later enjoy musically in the Leipzig Opera and follow the story.
Leipzig Christmas Market
We know it was mean to lead you away from the marketplace before. But, the thing is, the season is also about music. It’s not all about mulled wine and grilled bratwursts! And lebkuchen. And speculaas. And spit cakes. And lebkuchen. And schwippbögen, pottery and bee wax candles. No. It’s also about music! We know, we know, you have to visit the Christmas market in front of the Old Town Hall and we won’t keep you any longer. Luckly for us there will be plenty of music there too!
At the festive opening of the Christmas Market on 26 November at 5 pm, there will be a trombone performance on stage. During the Christmas market you can listen to the trombones play from the Old Town Hall balcony on Monday through Thursday at 6 pm, Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 7 pm and also at 1 pm at the weekends. It is also absolutely worth seeing the concert of the Brass Music Association from Schlema on 30 November. We have compiled a lot more information about the Christmas market and its programme on our website.
Still have questions? Then feel free to contact us!
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