San Francisco’s MUST-SEE Holiday Concerts

Red Curtain Addict Top Holiday Picks: December 2017

It’s officially December! We can hardly believe how quick this year has gone by. And now, it’s already time to celebrate the holidays! To make your event calendar-planning easy, I’ve made a list of the top seven must-see holiday performances in San Francisco. From family concerts to romantic dates nights, I think you’re going to like what I’ve found. Scroll below to see my top holiday picks…

1. San Francisco Symphony – Cirque de la Symphonie: December 6-7 @ 7:30pm 

San Francisco Symphony

The San Francisco Symphony is bringing the incredible Cirque de la Symphony back to the Davis Symphony Hall to perform their festive performance! This is a “WOW!” concert for all ages that pairs seasonal music with amazing acts by aerial flyers, acrobats, contortionists, jugglers, and more. Last year when we went, we were blown away by one of their aerial artists that even played the violin while being twisted in ribbons and hung upside down above the symphony. Talk about talent!

These amazing veterans of exceptional cirque programs are from different countries from around the world and their performance is not to be missed.

Tickets start at $35


2. San Francisco Opera – Adler Fellows Concert: December 8 @ 7:30pm

The San Francisco Opera is featuring their Resident Artists, the 2017 Adler Fellows, in their final performance of the year. I’ve had the opportunity to get to know each one of these amazing artists personally and I honestly can’t say enough positive things about this talented group. This concert is an opportunity for you to hear their vocal fireworks and see them perform some of the most demanding repertoires the opera world has to offer.

Addict Insider: The Adler Fellows are made up of nine singers, two pianists, and one stage director. These individuals are selected out of over a thousand applicants from all over the world to receive focused training and on-stage opportunities to hone their craft and develop their operatic careers.

Tickets start at $30


3. San Francisco Symphony –  SoundBox: February 9-10  (Tickets go on Sale, December 11 @ 10am)

The SoundBox experience is the most sought-after concert series in the Bay Area. In fact, their last concert sold-out in only six minutes! Why? The San Francisco Symphony transformed one of their backstage rehearsal spaces into a club-like setting to showcase new and multisensory performances, like shifting stage settings, art installations, projection screens, and unexpected elements.

These concerts highlight everything from classical music to folk music to heavy metal. There is a full bar serving specialty cocktails and gourmet bar bites for enjoyment during the performances.

The next SoundBox concerts will be on February 9-10, 2018 but the tickets will go on sale on December 11th @ 10am. So set your reminder and be ready to buy!

Addict Insider: SoundBox uses the Meyer Sound Constellation system that enables their musicians to custom-program the acoustic settings that they desire. The use of this system provides ultimate versatility and accommodates a variety of musical environments. One minute you’ll feel like you’re sitting in an amphitheater and the next, it sounds like you’re in an echo chamber – all within a flip of a switch.

Addict Tip: Get their EARLY because it’s general admission. Seats are first-come, first-served!

General admission is $45


4. San Francisco Ballet – The Nutcracker: December 13 – 30th


The San Francisco Ballet is presenting their magical Nutcracker, which has become a holiday tradition for families from all over the world. Set in San Francisco during the 1915 World’s Fair, Clara’s dreamlike journey takes place amidst colorful, larger-than-life scenery, more than 200 dazzling costumed characters and, of course, Tchaikovsky’s beautiful score performed live by the world-class San Francisco Ballet Orchestra. Their Director and Principal Choreographer Helgi Tomasson will be honoring their 73rd anniversary by using the City by the Bay as their backdrop.

Addict Insider: On Christmas Eve 1944, San Francisco Ballet was the FIRST American ballet company to perform Nutcracker, which instantly became a holiday tradition that spread across the country.  You should definitely put this on your bucket list as a San Francisco MUST-SEE!

Addict Tip: If you have kids, make sure to look for the Family Performances! The first 500 children to arrive (ages 4-12) receive a special gift and everyone enjoys complimentary beverages and treats at intermission.


5. San Francisco Symphony – Handel’s Messiah: December 14-15 @ 8pm

San Francisco Holiday Concert

You’ve probably heard bits and pieces from this work in several holiday movies, including Christmas Vacation. Remember when Chevy Chase plugs in his crazy Christmas lights and the “Hallelujah” Chorus comes on? That song is from Handel’s great masterpiece, Messiah which tells the story of Jesus Christ from birth to resurrection. 

Handel’s Messiah was performed for the first time 275 years in Dublin and it was originally meant as an Easter performance. However, by the 19th-century, public performances of this great masterwork became a rite of Christmas, especially in the United States. The Grammy Award-winning San Francisco Symphony 100-voice Chorus will continue their tradition of performing this great work with the San Francisco Symphony for two immense concerts.

Addict Insider: Handel wrote Messiah’s 260-page score in only 24 days! It’s estimated to roughly have a quarter of a million notes. NPR music commentator Miles Hoffman says, “that means Handel would have had to keep a continuous pace writing 15 notes a minute.”!

Tickets start at $45


6. SFJazz – ADAM SHULMAN: Vince Guaraldi’s A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS, 17 @ 2 pm

We don’t know about you, but it’s not Christmas without watching Charles Schulz’s Charlie Brown’s Christmas! To take this holiday tradition to the next level, I recommend seeing Adam Shulman at SF Jazz, who will be playing his tribute of Vince Guaraldi’s music throughout his holiday concert.

Addict Tip: We suggest sitting in the last row of the balcony because you get the best blend of sound with a great view and it gives you the freedom to move around a bit (including getting up-and-down for a cocktail throughout the performance!). It may seem like forever away but there are only around 13 rows in the theater. There’s truly not one bad seat in the house!

Addict Insider: On Dec. 9, 1965, a television classic was born. The very first A Charlie Brown Christmas aired at 7:30 p.m. on the CBS Network and its affiliates. … While Charles Schulz’s Peanuts characters were well known as a newspaper comic strip, there were fears the characters would not translate to television. We’re so glad they did!

Tickets start at $35


7. San Francisco Symphony – NYE Concert with Seth Macfarlane: December 31 @ 8pm

Looking for a fun and unique way to spend New Year’s Eve? Head over to celebrate with the San Francisco Symphony and Seth MacFarlane (AKA: the creator of Family Guy and American Dad!) for a one-of-a-kind concert filled with finger-snapping jazz standards, holiday favorites and lots of humor!
Seth is best known for his acting, filming, and comedy shows but he’s also an amazing singer that would make Frank Sinatra proud.  The performance will end around 10 pm so you’ll have plenty of time to still meet up with friends and count down the new year at one of your favorite local hotspots.
Addict Insider: Each premium seat in the Side Boxes will receive sparkling wine and chocolates upon arrival before the concert begins!

Tickets start at $89


I hope this quick rundown of my Top Performing Arts Picks for December was helpful! Let me know your thoughts by leaving a note in the comments! Also, feel free to add any performance suggestions and/or questions for December.

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Parker Coomans

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