Most of us consider ourselves enormously successful if, during the 24 days before Christmas, we manage to buy a couple gifts and not gain 20 pounds. Over a 24-day period in 1741, George Handel wrote his legendary Messiah, which documents, in song, the life of Christ. Today, the seasoned chamber musicians of the Mercury Baroque will play highlights, including the exuberant "Hallelujah," on instruments original to Handel's era. "Although the differences are very slight," explains Mercury Baroque's Jordan Witherspoon, comparing the period instruments to today's, "a whole orchestra of original instruments and skilled musicians who passionately bring out the subtleties of this music adds up to make a sound that is more pure, crisp and energetic." If highlights aren't enough for you, see the complete Messiah tomorrow. 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Wortham Center, 500 Texas. For information, call 832-251-0706 or visit $25 to $52.
Fri., Dec. 11, 8 p.m.; Sat., Dec. 12, 8 p.m., 2009
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Julia Ramey