Ring in the Yuletide season with a jubilant burst of music by Bach

Last performed by Tafelmusik in 2015, Bach’s Christmas Oratorio bears the unmistakable hallmark of the composer’s genius. The enduring story of Jesus’ birth unfolds in a sequence of energetic choruses, richly harmonized chorales, and poetic arias, while the tenor Evangelist provides a continuous narrative arc. A full range of Bach’s orchestral colours is punctuated by jubilant trumpets and timpani.

Superb vocal soloists making their Tafelmusik debuts—Hélène Brunet, soprano; Cecilia Duarte, mezzo-soprano; and Jesse Blumberg, baritone—bring extra depth and expressiveness to both the human and divine aspects of the story. Renowned English tenor Charles Daniels brings his “technically brilliant, impassioned, and lyrically supple” voice (BBC Music Magazine) to the role of the Evangelist.

Sung in German, the oratorio is a compilation of six cantatas originally sung at services in Leipzig over the Twelve Days of Christmas. Performed by Tafelmusik Chamber Choir and directed by Ivars Taurins in the intimate setting of Jeanne Lamon Hall, the music balances joy and exuberance with tenderness and simplicity, perfectly capturing the wonder of the nativity story.

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Running Time
2 hours 15 minutes
Style of Music
Baroque choral

Jeanne Lamon Hall, Trinity-St. Paul’s Centre

Guest artists

Hélène Brunet


Hélène Brunet is hailed as “a singer of tremendous quality” with “a voice of perfect beauty and sincere expression.” Recognized for her interpretations of Bach, Handel, and Mozart, her repertoire extends from baroque to the music of the 20th and 21st centuries. Hélène is the recipient of a prestigious JUNO award (2022) for her first solo album Solfeggio (ATMA Classique) with renowned ensemble L‘Harmonie des saisons. Hélène is the first artist to ever win for a solo album in the category Large Ensemble at the JUNOs. The critics describe Solfeggio as “a first-rate vocal achievement” (La Presse) and a “red carpet that displays Hélène’s superb and enveloping tone” (Le Devoir). Accolades continue with Solfeggio being selected as one of CBC Music’s Top 20 Classical albums of the year. On the stage, Hélène sings with the American Classical Orchestra at Lincoln Center in New York City, American Bach Soloists in San Francisco, and the Orchestre Métropolitain under the baton of Yannick Nézet-Séguin, who says, “Hélène Brunet is the embodiment of class, refinement, and purity.” Hélène is the recipient of generous grants from Musicaction and the Canada Council for the Arts. She studies with voice teacher Neil Semer in New York.

Cecilia Duarte


A soloist in the Grammy-Winning album Duruflé: The Complete Choral Works, Cecilia Duarte has been praised by the New York Times as “a creamy voiced mezzo-soprano.” Born in Chihuahua, Mexico, Cecilia is a versatile singer that has performed around the world singing a variety of music styles, especially early and contemporary music. She has premiered roles in numerous new operas, including several for Houston Grand Opera. She is widely recognized for creating the role Renata in the Mariachi Opera Cruzar la Cara de la Luna by Martínez (Houston Grand Operas, Chicago Lyric Opera, San Diego Opera, El Paso Opera, NYCOpera, Minnesota Opera, Europe and South America. Cecilia’s early music experience includes appearances with Ars Lyrica Houston, Early Music Vancouver, Pacific Music Works, The Boston Early Music Festival, Mercury Houston, Seraphic Fire, and the Bach Collegium San Diego, among others. Recordings include her first solo album, Reencuentros.

Charles Daniels


Charles Daniels is a renowned interpreter of baroque music, informed by twelve centuries’ music. His recordings include Bach Passions, Handel’s Messiah, Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo and Vespers, chamber music from Senfl to Tavener.

He created the roles of Ulisse / John Dunne in last year’s Bayerische Staatsoper production of Il Ritorno d’Ulisse/Jahr des magisches Denken. Concert appearances include the BBC Proms, De Nederlandse Bach Vereniging, premieres of John Tavener’s Songs of the Sky (Aldeburgh 2007), and Kilar’s Missa Pro Pace (2001) with the Warsaw Philharmonic.

Charles’ reconstructions of Gesualdo’s Sacrae Cantiones à 6 were premiered by the Gesualdo Consort of Amsterdam. His completion of Purcell’s Arise my Muse was broadcast on Radio-Canada during the Montréal Baroque Festival.

He is delighted to return to Tafelmusik, with whom he has enjoyed a long and happy collaboration.

Jesse Blumberg


Baritone Jesse Blumberg has performed featured roles at Minnesota Opera, Boston Lyric Opera, Atlanta Opera, Boston Early Music Festival, Opera Atelier, and at Château de Versailles Spectacles and London’s Royal Festival Hall. He has sung major concert works with Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra, American Bach Soloists, Boston Baroque, Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, Oratorio Society of New York, The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Early Music Vancouver, and on Lincoln Center’s American Songbook series. Jesse has been featured on nearly 30 commercial recordings, including the 2015 Grammy-winning and 2019 Grammy-nominated Charpentier Chamber Operas with Boston Early Music Festival. He is also the founding artistic director of Five Boroughs Music Festival in New York City, and has served as a guest instructor of voice at Cleveland Institute of Music.


Directed by Ivars Taurins
Tafelmusik Chamber Choir
Tafelmusik Orchestra
Hélène Brunet soprano
Cecilia Duarte mezzo-soprano
Charles Daniels tenor
Jesse Blumberg baritone 


Bach Christmas Oratorio 

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