The holidays will look a lot different this season thanks to the pandemic. Family gatherings will be limited, gift exchanges will be truncated, and theaters that would normally hold shows like “The Nutcracker” or “A Christmas Celtic Sojourn” will sit empty.
That said, many Boston-area performance groups are still be providing holiday cheer this year, albeit online.
Here are seven Boston holiday performances you can stream online this holiday season.
If you’ve never managed to score sought-after tickets to a Boston Ballet performance of “The Nutcracker,” the beloved holiday classic will be available for free this year. A one-hour version of the show, put together using footage from various dress rehearsals, is available now in partnership with NBC10 Boston on the Boston Ballet website.
For the 20th anniversary of Anthony Williams’s adaptation of the holiday classic, the City Ballet of Boston will present timed airings of a recorded performance from 2019. Set in Boston, the show features more than 150 performers showcasing an array of dance styles and jumping between Tchaikovsky’s classic Nutcracker compositions and the rhythms of artists like Duke Ellington. Viewers can sign up for free tickets to the performances — at 7 p.m. on Dec. 4, 13, and 24 — on the Urban Nutcracker website.
In partnership with the Jewish Arts Collaborative, The Museum of Fine Arts will once again host its annual celebration. The ceremony begins with a community candle lighting, followed by Music from singer-songwriter Tamar Radah and multi-instrumentalist Hankus Netsky, as well as a new dance piece commissioned specially for the occasion entitled “Shadows and Flame.” The show will be broadcast free on the MFA’s website, YouTube, and Facebook pages at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 9.
For the first time in 50 years, the annual Christmas Revels show will not take place in Harvard’s Sanders Theatre. Instead, a small group of performers will take part in a virtual presentation, taking viewers through the archives of past Revels shows. Among the performers this year are world-renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma, Revels artist-in-residence David Coffin, and Revels directors Patrick Swanson and George Emlen. The show will be available for purchase and on-demand viewing from Dec. 18 to 31 on the Revels website.
For 17 years, Brian O’Donovan’s live stage spin-off of his weekend WGBH radio show has entertained audiences and informed them about the musical and historical Celtic, Pagan, and Christian traditions associated with Christmas through poetry, singing, fiddle playing, and dancing. This year, the show will be virtual-only, with WGBH partnering with the six area theaters to bring six unique performances to audiences. You can buy tickets to any of the six, which will stream at 7:30 p.m. from Dec. 15 to 20, and then watch them on-demand from Dec. 21 to Jan. 2. For more information or to buy tickets, visit the show’s website.
First Night Boston 2021 will be a broadcast-only event this year, with no in-person celebrations happening downtown to ring in the new year. Instead, First Night coverage will be provided on NBC10 Boston, NECN, Telemundo Boston, and a livestream on firstnightboston.org on New Year’s Eve. Available details on the broadcast are minimal so far, beyond stating that the celebration will include “an array of performances.” A First Night representative said more information will be released this month.
“The Slutcracker” is offering a digital version of its bawdy show to rent on-demand for the rest of 2020. The burlesque parody created by Vanessa White in 2008 is not a family-friendly affair, but for those who want a feminist, body-positive ballet with a heavy dose of the risqué, “The Slutcracker” is just the ticket. To access the show, which is a taping of the in-person version from 2019 at Somerville Theatre, visit the show’s website.
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