This time of year, turning off the Mariah Carey and heading out to hear a live performance of Handel's Messiah is the equivalent of turning in your shiny aluminum Christmas tree for an evergreen. The Baroque composer's 1741 masterwork cuts to the biblical core of the holiday, detailing, in song, the life of Christ. Today, the Houston Symphony will continue a six-decade tradition with its rendition of Messiah, complete with soloists Kendra Colton, Charlotte Daw Paulsen, Michael Slattery and Douglas Williams - as well as "enhanced lighting" meant to re-create the atmosphere of a candlelit night in the 1700s. 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. For information, call 713-224-7575 or visit www.houstonsymphony.org. $25 to $80.
Fri., Dec. 18, 8 p.m.; Sat., Dec. 19, 8 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 20, 2:30 p.m., 2009