The Royal Albert Hall will open its doors this December with a programme of festive favourites, welcoming a live audience to a fun celebration this Christmas.
The season will feature essentials from the Hall’s Christmas tradition, including the Royal Choral Society and Handel’s Messiah – both staples since 1871 – alongside Christmas carols, The Nutcracker, Guy Barker’s Big Band Christmas and the family show, My Christmas Orchestral Adventure.
Presented under COVID-19 secure guidelines, the concerts will create a safe and comfortable environment for audiences to celebrate together again – with measures including socially-distanced seating, e-tickets, deep-cleaning, staggered entry times to reduce queues, temperature checks, a face covering policy, and sanistising stations throughout the venue.
Craig Hassall, CEO of the Royal Alber Hall said, “Six months on from enforced closure, and six months away from our 150th anniversary on 29 March 2021, we are excited beyond words to open our doors to the public for what will be a joyful, stirring and historic occasion.
“It remains the case that socially-distanced performances are financially unviable in the long term. Although this model is not sustainable with such reduced capacities, we are opening because I firmly believe this is what the country needs. It is an investment into our future – to protect the jobs of our highly skilled staff to stimulate the local economy and the wider arts ecosystem, and to fulfil significant audience demand.
“Christmas has always been a time of great celebrations at the Royal Albert Hall, where people have come together since 1871 – from Vera Lynn at the end of the Blitz, to the Queen’s first public Christmas address. It is essential for us to carry on this spirit in what has been a year of disruption.”
Although it is impossible for the Hall to return to viable operations and profitability with social distancing in place, the season will be a step forward in supporting the wider industry, stimulating the local economy and offering live cultural experiences to the nation, Any income from the season will help the Hall retain its workforce and give work to suppliers and freelancers. Royal Albert Hall sold 121,229 tickets across last year’s Christmas season. This year there will be 36,000 tickets available in total.
The line-up includes two shows that have featured in the venue’s line-up since 1871. The Royal Choral Society will bring 150 vocalists to the Hall, while Handel’s Messiah will be performed this year by soloists Francesca Chiejina, Katie Bray, Trystan Llŷr Griffiths, and Dingle Yandell, with the Philharmonia Chorus and Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Eduardo Strausser.
The Hall’s famous carol concerts also return, with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Choral Society and National Youth Choirs of Great Britain conducted by Richard Cooke. Jazz legend Guy Barker will also appear for the fifth year of his Big Band Christmas, The Nutcracker, adapted for these extraordinary times, which features staging created for the Hall. My Christmas Orchestral Adventure will also return with a familiar show for families, giving many children their first experience of a live orchestra.
Tickets for Christmas at the Royal Albert Hall are on sale at 10am on 2 October, priced from £15. The Nutcracker show listings will be available on 30 Dec to 2 Jan. For more information or to book tickets, please visit the website.