Hallelujah! Hallelujah!—Under the direction of Guillermo Figueroa, the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra and Chorus whips up a complete rendition of Handel's holiday classic, The Messiah, for two performances at UNM's Popejoy Hall on Friday, Dec. 16, at 8 p.m. and Saturday, Dec. 17, at 6 p.m., and one at the National Hispanic Cultural Center on Sunday, Dec. 18, at 2 p.m. Experience the story of Jesus in all its operatic splendor. Tickets range from $10 to $57. They're available online at nmso.org, by calling (505) 881-8999 or in-person at the Symphony Store (4407 Menaul NE).
Like eggnog and candy canes, the holiday season just isn't complete without The Nutcracker. The Ballet Theatre of New Mexico's version of this Christmas classic opens this weekend at the KiMo Theatre. Join Clara and her nut-cracking dreamboat in a winter wonderland filled with dancing snowflakes, entertaining sweets and the ever-lovely Sugar Plum Fairy. Runs through Dec. 24. Call for dates and times. The Saturday, Dec. 24, performance will be followed by the Nutcracker Tea, where kids can sample offerings from the Kingdom of Sweets and meet characters from the ballet. Tickets are $15 to $20 ($5 extra for the Nutcracker Tea). Discounts available. Order by calling 768-3544. Visit www.btnm.org for more information.
Along with all the carols, the shopping, the decorations and the fat, jolly old guy in the unflattering red suit, you can bet your last dollar you'll be subjected to a big pile of whining this Christmas season. Something about the holidays brings out both the best and the worst in us. Many people choose this time of year to write checks to charities, donate cans to food banks and generally direct a little extra kindness toward their fellow humans. Others get mean drunk and bicker idiotically for hours on end with their families. Some are so estranged from their relatives they skip Christmas altogether.
The first time Robert Fisk met Osama bin Laden, the future public enemy of the United States was sitting in a tent in rural Sudan, wearing a gold-fringed robe, surrounded by Muslim elders and children. Fisk's initial impression was of a "shy man," wary of meeting his first Western reporter. "My time in Afghanistan was the most important experience in my life," Bin Laden quietly told Fisk that day. But all that was behind him. He was building roads now.