Christmas concerts in the Old World
November 7, 2017 8:50 AM   Subscribe

Help us find nice Christmas concerts (or just music) in Prague, Cesky Krumlov, Vienna, and Regensburg! While searching for information on where to listen to the great music of the season in these cities, I find that the results are often dwarfed by third-party ticket merchants selling concert tickets for the larger venues. At the same time, doing an exhaustive search church by church sounds, well, exhausting! We need the experience of the Meta-filterettes!

We will be in:
Prague Dec 10-16
Cesky Krumlov Dec 17-19
Vienna Dec 20-25
Regensburg Dec 25-28

Any information would be great. Just knowing which churches host music during the season would help me in my search. We like orchestral, pipe organ, and choral music, which should cover it pretty well! Any time of day, too.

Bonus question: We are interested in attending Christmas Mass in Vienna. Although drawn to Stephansdom due to its age and history, we fear waiting in the cold for hours to get a seat. How early do we need to be at this cathedral to be sure? As an alternative, does anyone have any experience of Christmas Mass at any of the other beautiful churches of Vienna?

posted by Don_K to Travel & Transportation (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I'd go to the Christmas markets in any of those towns. They typically have free public shows.

I don't know if the Regensburg market at the Thurn und Taxis Castle will still be running when you get there, but it's excellent and worth the nominal price of admission.
posted by sixpack at 12:36 PM on November 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

Viennese here. Unless you are really set on it, I would not go to Stefansdom for Christmas mass. It will be very, very, very full. But so many alternatives!
There is eg. a small pretty baroque church just 5 min away from famous Stephansdom, St Peter, on Petersplatz, they offer music / concerts for free neary every day here is the programme for the church and programme for the crypt and listing of Sunday mass, and including Christmas mass (last page, PDF)

Another small church in the old inner city with a very long history (older than the cahthedral) is Ruprechtskirche they also have a musical programme of concerts (small ticket price ca 18 Euro, you can buy it drectly form them, and a weekly mass on Saturday 5pm with choral music.

Consider Karlskirche they have masses with music (this website is the parish website and a bit weird with autoplaying music but you can see the dates of upcoming masses with music).

Another lovely church in the inner city with music is Jesuitenkirche they offer Mozart's Krönungsmesse for Christmas mass. This is their choir's website

in general, you will need to allow at least one hour in advance to get a seat as the above are all local parishes and parishoners will arrive up to one hour early, most at least 30 mins early. Church pews are heated from underneath, much like car seats. Nevertheless dress warmly.

you are welcome to memail me if you want more info.
posted by 15L06 at 1:14 PM on November 7, 2017

sixpack: I'll definitely check out the castle in Regensburg. I heard that some markets will persist until New Years.

15L06: Wow, you hit the nail on the head! I loved visiting all of those places during a previous stay, although Ruprechtskirche was closed at the times I walked by. I will make a point of going to see one of the concerts there.

I was hoping that Peterskirche would be a good alternative to Stephansdom. I wonder if it might be just as crowded since it is close enough to be the 'spill-over' church? We will be staying somewhat close to Karlskirche, so that is a good option, especially so late and so cold. It was being renovated when I saw it last, so it would be great to see it without the scaffolding inside (although being able to take an elevator to dome level to see the frescoes was well worth it). We've attended regular Sunday Mass (with music) at Jesuitenkirche and it was wonderful.

One thing I don't want to do is take the seat of an elderly parishioner. I don't suppose there is any way to avoid that other than giving up my seat if I see one.

Again, thanks for the great suggestions and helpful links!
posted by Don_K at 1:34 PM on November 7, 2017

my pleasure.
you may also want to check this out, but it is only in German, a listing of all church music events in Vienna, for the actual addresses see this list

I dont think Christmas mass at midnight draws tons of tourists, though. Not sure how full St Peter will be, and it may be possibly filling earlier than an hour in advance. I go to our local parish church people squeeze together in pews closer than you may be used to, and it keeps you warm. if you sit toward the back, you wont take a regular's seat, and will be able to tell when to rise and when to kneel (assuming you don't know already or like me only attend Christmas and Easter).

Karlskirche still has the elevator inside! but not the rest of the scaffolding. They charge for the elevator, we went in summer and it gave me the creeps being so far up. But beautiful.

If you want ot look some more, here is another listing of Catholic churches, in English and this listing of inner city churches, but again it is all in German.
posted by 15L06 at 1:59 PM on November 7, 2017

Ausgezeichnet! I need to practice my German, so no problem there.

Is the elevator there to stay? I wonder why they would keep it after the work is finished. Surely, it can't generate a large income.

I was hoping to let you know in which district we are staying, but I can't find the address. I thought it might be in Mariahilf or Neubau. Are you near that area?
posted by Don_K at 2:22 PM on November 7, 2017

Yes, i will send you memail
posted by 15L06 at 8:23 AM on November 8, 2017

Ps Elevator is a permanent feature, they need the money, for renovation. I sent you email adress via mefimail
posted by 15L06 at 8:30 AM on November 8, 2017

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