Metro Weekly

Editor’s Pick: The NSO’s Holiday Offerings

From the fun of Ugly Sweaters to the pure joy of Laura Benanti to the tradition of Handel's Messiah, the NSO has the holidays covered.

National Symphony Orchestra
The National Symphony Orchestra at a jubilantly festooned Kennedy Center Concert Hall

Next week the National Symphony Orchestra will launch into its annual run of holiday shows in the most playful, as well as casual and affordable, way possible, with the return of the annual “Ugly Sweater Holiday Concert” at The Anthem (901 Wharf St. SW).

The sweater-wearing members of the orchestra will play a selection of holiday songs and sing-along carols under the baton of Nicholas Hersh (12/6).

Two nights later marks the first of three Holiday Pops concerts featuring the orchestra led by Principal Pops Conductor Steven Reineke and performed in the Kennedy Center Concert Hall.

That first concert is a special free performance for members of the military and their families as part of the NSO Notes of Honor initiative offering gratitude for veterans’ extraordinary service.

National Symphony Orchestra: Laura Benanti -- Photo: Jenny Anderson
Laura Benanti — Photo: Jenny Anderson

This year’s featured guest is Tony Award-winning performer Laura Benanti (Gypsy, My Fair Lady), known beyond Broadway and the theater world for guest turns in everything from the HBO Max reboot of Gossip Girl to Netflix’s tick, tick…BOOM!, Hulu’s Life and Beth to her uproarious impersonations of Melania Trump on CBS’s The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

Benanti will mainly focus on classic carols in her performances with the orchestra, but a theater queen can hope and dream the orchestra will let her entertain her fans by pulling out a few standards from her repertoire to perform (12/8-10).

The NSO holidays culminate with the annual performance of Handel’s Messiah in the Concert Hall, this year led by conductor Fabio Biondi in his NSO debut and featuring the Choral Arts Society of Washington.

The lineup of soloists includes NSO debuts from soprano Liv Redpath, mezzo-soprano Hannah Ludwig, tenor John Matthew Myers, and bass Neal Davies (12/15-18).

Tickets range from $15 to $109 per program. Visit or call 202-467-4600 for more information.

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