TO EASE you into the festive season, the Brandenburg Choir presents Noel! Noel! Artistic director Paul Dyer has selected a comprehensive program of favourite carols and not-so-familiar yuletide tunes, arranging the performance with touches of European and Latin American rhythms and medieval chanting. The Brandenburg Orchestra provides the musical backing, counting among its period instruments a classical saxophone and a cornetto (the ancient wind instrument, not the ice-cream).
Today 5pm and 7pm, Melbourne Recital Centre, corner Southbank Boulevard and Sturt Street, Southbank, $45-$125, 9699 3333, melbournerecital.com.au
Gotye returns home after touring the globe on the success of his third studio album Making Mirrors. Breakout hit single Somebody That I Used To Know topped the notoriously hard-to-crack Billboard 100 for eight weeks, thrusting the singer-songwriter into the international spotlight. Gotye is joined by a 10-piece band, with support slots from Bertie Blackman and PVT.
Tonight 6.30pm, Sidney Myer Music Bowl, 100 St Kilda Road, city, $79.90, 1300 182 183, artscentremelbourne.com.au
IT'S been 30 years since Shane Howard and his band Goanna released Solid Rock, one of the first Oz-rock songs to explore the injustices suffered by Aboriginal people. Following a commemorative concert at Uluru in October, tonight's Other Side of the Rock show sees Howard joined on stage by a long list of guests including Archie Roach, Thelma Plum, Emma Donovan, Mark Atkins and Yirrmal and The Yolngu Boys.
Tonight 8.30pm, Forum Theatre, corner Russell and Flinders streets, city, $75, 136 100, ticketmaster.com.au
THE Royal Melbourne Philharmonic performs Handel's Christian oratorio Messiah this weekend for the 233rd time, claiming a world record. Soloists Siobhan Stagg, Dominica Matthews, Daniel Todd and Nathan Lay join the Philharmonic choir and orchestra for a 130-person performance conducted by Andrew Wailes.
Tomorrow 5pm, Melbourne Town Hall, Corner Swanston and Collins streets, city, $53-$69, 136 100, ticketmaster.com.au
EMMY-award winning comedian, online agitator and author Sarah Silverman makes her debut Melbourne performance tonight. As well as The Sarah Silverman Show and her 2004 concert film Sarah Silverman: Jesus is Magic, she has appeared in a long list of cult comedy television shows and films over the past couple of decades, including Saturday Night Live, Seinfeld, The School of Rock and Louie.
Tonight 7.30pm, Palais Theatre, Lower Esplanade, St Kilda, $80-$90, 136 100, ticketmaster.com.au
FAST becoming an annual holiday fixture, Phil Zachariah's Charles Dickens Performs A Christmas Carol recreates the live readings the author gave of his iconic tale during the latter part of his life. Dressed as an ageing Dickens, Zachariah adopts the parts of more than 20 characters including miser Ebenezer Scrooge, his business partner Jacob Marley and the ghosts of Christmases past, present and yet to come. Season concludes tomorrow.
Today 2pm and 8pm, tomorrow 4pm, Athenaeum Theatre, 188 Collins Street, city, $25-$40 132 849, ticketek.com.au
GEOFFREY Rush leads a cast of veteran Australian comics and actors in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. The award-winning musical, featuring songs by Stephen Sondheim, follows the exploits of slave Pseudolus (Rush) who tries to win his freedom by helping his master's son woo the girl next door. The season runs until January 6.
Today 2pm and 8pm, tomorrow 3pm, Her Majesty's Theatre, 219 Exhibition Street, city, $70-$200, 1300 795 012, ticketek.com.au
WHAT makes Clare Bowditch tick? The Melbourne singer-songwriter discusses her not-so-obvious influences in the latest instalment of Performance Enhancers, a monthly series where songwriters talk about the art, literature and mythology that inspires them. Hosts Lisa Palermo and Kate Welsman will probe Bowditch on how a Ballets Russes photography book influenced her recordings, among other things. Bowditch will also perform.
Today 5pm, Hamer Hall Stalls foyer, Arts Centre Melbourne, 100 St Kilda Road,
city, $20, 1300 182 183, artscentremelbourne.com.au
THE movie songs of legendary studio composers Henry Mancini, Elmer Bernstein and Andre Previn feature in a new production at the Butterfly Club. Bachelor in Paradise, devised by and starring Tim Clark, weaves the lounge era songs into a tale about a New York City ad man who falls under the spell of one of the city's well-documented characters – an attractive and canny vixen.
Today 7pm, tomorrow 6pm, The Butterfly Club, 204 Bank Street, South Melbourne, $18-$23, thebutterflyclub.com
YOU may know J.B. Smoove as Leon Black, Larry David's freeloading housemate in the HBO series Curb Your Enthusiasm. It's been a breakthrough role for Smoove (real name Jerry Brooks), who has worked as an actor, writer and comedian since the early '90s. At this performance, he's in stand-up mode, supported by local comedian David Quirk.
December 15, 5pm, Thornbury Theatre, 859 High Street, Thornbury, $50.50, 1300 762 545, oztix.com.au
VIKA Bull stars as iconic rhythm and blues singer Etta James in John Livings' At Last: The Etta James Story. The stage show captures the restless and occasionally destructive life of the singer, including well-documented struggles with drug addiction, and features the songs that made James a household name, from Tell Mama and Something's Got A Hold On Me to signature song At Last.
February 19-March 3, Athenaeum Theatre, 188 Collins Street, city, $19-$49, 132 849, ticketek.com.au
HUMAN rights lawyer to the stars (and the underdogs) Geoffrey Robertson, QC, appears in a legal double-bill closing event to the Wheeler Centre's 2012 season. Robertson, who counts Julian Assange among his past clients, will speak on the issues he has fought for and his latest book Mullahs Without Mercy. Following Robertson, actor and filmmaker Adam Zwar (Wilfred, Lowdown) presents a reading of the original courtroom drama, 1957's 12 Angry Men.
December 14, 6.30pm-9.30pm, Athenaeum Theatre, 188 Collins Street, city, $12-$35, 9094 7800, wheelercentre.com
IN A once in a lifetime pairing, David Byrne and St Vincent collaborated on the studio album Love This Giant, released in September on UK label 4AD. No strangers to collaboration (Byrne of new wave band Talking Heads and St Vincent of symphonic rock band The Polyphonic Spree), the duo's new songs reflect the considerable abilities of the two songwriters. Backed by a full brass band, they trade verses at the Arts Centre.
January 14-15, Hamer Hall, Arts Centre Melbourne, 100 St Kilda Road, city, $89, 1300 182 183, artscentremelbourne.com.au