While flying birds, dancing bears, and a giant serpent are not your typical holiday characters, they star in a seasonal tradition at the Metropolitan Opera in Mozart’s classic fairytale, The Magic Flute. Featuring visual effects, beautiful songs, and an English libretto by J.D. McClatchy, the opera tells the story of Prince Tamino’s rescue of the Queen of the Night’s daughter from an evil sorcerer. Along the journey, he is helped by a feather-covered bird catcher, Papageno, and protected by the magic flute. December 22, 27, 30, 31 at 1pm; January 1 at 7pm. $15-$125. The Metropolitan Opera, Lincoln Center, Columbus Avenue between 62nd and 65th Streets, Manhattan. 212-362-6000. www.metopera.org.