Hallelujah! The traditional Christmas productions have begun. Friday at 8 and Saturday at 2 and 8, George Washington University Opera Theater will stage Menotti's "Amahl and the Night Visitors." Sunday at 4, the Handel Choir of Baltimore presents a "Messiah" sing-along at Grace United Methodist Church, Baltimore. Sunday at 7, Cathedral Choir of Metropolitan A.M.E. performs "Messiah," as does the Georgetown Symphony at 7:30 at Gaston Hall, and the Prince George's Choral Society at 8 at the Publick Playhouse. Handel's popular Christmas piece appears again Monday by the George Washington University Chorus and Orchestra, 8 p.m. at Lisner Auditorium. And the National Symphony stages its "Messiah" performances beginning Wednesday through December 13 at 8:30, Kennedy Center. The traditional Kennedy Center "Messiah" sing-along will be held December 23.

The American Ballet Theatre will perform "The Nutcracker Suite" at Kennedy Center December 22 through 27 and December 29 through 31. Washington Ballet's "Nutcracker" performances will be December 17 through January 3 at Lisner Auditorium. Dance for Washington will stage its "Nutcracker" December 26 through 31 at Constitution Hall, and Rockville Civic Ballet performs the suite December 12, 13, 19 and 20.