An Appalachian Christmas at SFJAZZ features violin great Mark O’Connor and guests playing carols, bluegrass and other traditional American music. (Courtesy photo)

Dec. 16-17: An Appalachian Christmas, ‘Nutcracker,’ Messiah, Giraffage

WEDNESDAY, DEC. 16

An Appalachian Christmas: Violin master Mark O’Connor and guests Carrie Rodriguez and Cia Cherryholmes play carols, bluegrass and other traditional American music. [7:30 p.m., SFJAZZ Center, 201 Franklin St., S.F.]

San Francisco Ballet: The troupe opens its annual production of “Nutcracker.” [7 p.m., War Memorial Opera House, 301 Van Ness Ave., S.F.]

Adam Shulman: The pianist performs Vince Guaraldi’s “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” [7 and 8:30 p.m., Joe Henderson Lab, SFJAZZ Center, 201 Franklin St., S.F.]

Countess Katya Smirnoff-Skyy: San Francisco’s favorite glamorous redhead — the drag alter-ego of J. Conrad Frank — appears in her annual holiday cabaret show. [7 p.m., Feinstein’s at the Nikko, 222 Mason St., S.F.]

Jamie Barton: The mezzo-soprano, accompanied by pianist Robert Mollicone and cellist Emil Miland, performs a recital of songs by Turina, Chausson, Schubert, Dvorak and Heggie. [7:30 p.m., Conservatory of Music Concert Hall, 50 Oak St., S.F.]

Downtown Holiday Festival: The Richmond Main Street Initiative, East Bay Center for the Performing Arts and the City of Richmond host the annual seasonal festivities, which include entertainments and visit from Santa. [4 to 8 p.m., East Bay Center for the Performing Arts, 339 11th St., Richmond]

American Bach Soloists: The program of Handel’s “Messiah” and Bach’s “Christmas Oratorio” features soloists Hélène Brunet, Agnes Vojtko, Kyle Stegall and Jesse Blumberg, and conductor Jeffrey Thomas. [7:30 p.m., Grace Cathedral, 1100 California St., S.F.]

Brad Wilson & The Rollin’ Blues Thunder Band: The guitarist and contemporary blues rocker’s latest album is “Blues Thunder.” [7:30 and 9:30 p.m., Biscuits & Blues, 401 Mason St., S.F.]

THURSDAY, DEC. 17

American Bach Soloists’ Messiah: The group’s 17th consecutive “Messiah” features soloists Hélène Brunet, Agnes Vojtko, Kyle Stegall and Jesse Blumberg; Jeffrey Thomas conducts. [7:30 p.m., Grace Cathedral, 1100 California St., S.F.]

San Francisco Symphony and Chorus: Ragnar Bohlin directs The City’s top orchestra and chorale in performances of Handel’s “Messiah.” [8 p.m., Davies Symphony Hall, 201 Van Ness Ave., S.F., www.sfsymphony.org]

New Century Chamber Orchestra: The San Francisco Girls Chorus joins the ensemble for “Holiday Lights.” [8 p.m., First Congregational Church, 2345 Channing Way, Berkeley]

The Biggest Gift: Fantasy Forum Actors Ensemble opens its holiday presentation, an original family friendly musical that encourages audience participation from all ages. [11:30 a.m., Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Drive, Walnut Creek]

Giraffage: The San Francisco native and electronic whiz kid co-headlines the “So Cute” tour with Slow Magic; Lindsay Lowend and DJ Dials also appear. [8 p.m. Regency Ballroom, 1300 Van Ness Ave., S.F.]

Falling In Reverse: The post hardcore band co-headlines with Atreyu on the “Christmas Vacation” tour with special guests From Ashes To New and Assuming We Survive. [7:30 p.m., Warfield, 982 Market St., S.F,]

Being Leonardo da Vinci: Renowned Italian director and actor Massimiliano Finazzer Flory brings the master artist to life onstage in the one-act, 60-minute play. [8 p.m., Strand Theatre, 1127 Market St., S.F.]

Paloma Pavel: The educator, psychologist and international consultant speaks about her book “Random Kindless and Senseless Acts of Beauty.” [5:30 p.m., 1423 Broadway, Oakland]

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