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Arts Hottest tickets in Canada: Five things to do across the country

The National

Suddenly the National are alt-rock elders. On their seventh album, Sleep Well Beast, the Brooklyn-based elegant brooders reflect on musical fashions and their own durability: "New York is older, changing its skin again/ It dies every 10 years, then it begins again." Like jeans and warm sweaters, this quintet wears its age well and stays in style.

Six Canadian dates begin this weekend at Vancouver's Queen Elizabeth Theatre.

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NAC English Theatre: A Christmas Carol

There is an argument to be made that with his 1843 novella, A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens inspired modern yuletide traditions – traditions that include annual productions of A Christmas Carol, as it happens. In Ottawa, the inimitable and occasionally figgy Andy Jones dons the Victorian nightcap as the ghost-addled Ebenezer Scrooge.

Dec. 5 to 24, at Ottawa's Babs Asper Theatre.

Little Miss Higgins

A sweet-voiced strutter born in Alberta, raised in Kansas and long of Saskatchewan, Little Miss Higgins validates the maxim about big things and small packages. On her latest album, My Home, My Heart, acoustic retro-blues swing this way, roll that way and never fail to raise a smile.

Dec. 2, at Winnipeg's West End Cultural Centre.

Canadian Opera Company: The Magic Victrola

In the late 19th century, the newfangled phonograph would have seemed magical to children. And now, in the digital-gizmo world, a crank-powered record player to them must seem just as mysterious. A concert for young audiences involves music from Bizet, Mozart, Puccini and other old things that spring to life.

Dec. 2 and 3, at Toronto's Imperial Oil Opera Theatre.

Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal: Dance Me

Leonard Cohen's first public performance happened in 1958 at a jazz parlour above a Montreal delicatessen, where something other than meat was no doubt being smoked. Nearly 60 years later, the choreographers Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, Andonis Foniadakis and Ihsan Rustem contribute to a new work featuring the music of the late, great troubadour Cohen.

Dec. 5 to 9, Théâtre Maisonneuve; Dec. 15, Toronto's Sony Centre.

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