December 20. Although long identified as a staple of the Christmas season, Handel's famed Messiah, one of the most popular choral works of all time, actually made its debut at Easter time in 1742. Most of the German-born Briton's oratorios are dominated by the soloists and the choir only sings brief choruses, but Messiah, which here will be sung at UPAC by the vocalists of Capella Festiva backed by the Hudson Valley Philharmonic, is basically driven by the choruses. With a full orchestra made up of more than 150 musicians and singers, this rendition of the holiday classic will be something to behold indeed. (The Ulster Ballet presents "A Christmas Carol" December 5-7; CBT presents "The Nutcracker" December 12-14.) 2pm. $25, $35, $50. Kingston. (845) 473-2072; Bardavon.org.