The National Ballet of Canada
The NAC has enjoyed a strong relationship with The National Ballet of Canada from the very beginning. At our opening night on June 2, 1969, the company gave the first-ever performance in the Opera (now called Southam Hall) with the avant-garde ballet Kraanerg, choreographed by Roland Petit. Since then, the The National Ballet of Canada has performed at the NAC each year. From January 31 to February 2, 2019, they danced works by the illustrious George Balanchine (Apollo), the legendary Sir Frederick Ashton (The Dream) and by trailblazer Justin Peck (Paz de la Jolla).
BIG BANG, one of Europe’s most renowned festivals for young audiences, made its North American debut at the NAC for two days in February. The festival took over the building, with thousands of children and families exploring the fascinating world of music, sound and the arts. BIG BANG included imaginative installations, workshops and performances, including a visually enchanting concert with the NAC Orchestra, conducted by Alexander Shelley.
On the weekend of the National Arts Centre’s grand opening in 1969, thousands of Canadians flooded into downtown Ottawa for an open house. On our 50th anniversary on June 2, 2019, and in partnership with Doors Open Ottawa, we threw open our doors and people came once more by the thousands. They witnessed the magic of backstage, walking the same halls that countless legendary artists have walked over the past five decades. They sang, danced and acted on the NAC stages, and enjoyed pop-up performances by Canadian artists throughout the building. And in the evening, Alexander Shelley and the NAC Orchestra gave a free concert in honour of this milestone occasion.
Hundreds gathered in Peter Herrndorf Place on April 30 to hear the details of NAC Indigenous Theatre’s inaugural season in 2019–2020. Created by Artistic Director Kevin Loring and Managing Director Lori Marchand, it will celebrate the resilience, strength and beauty of Indigenous women, and feature more than 10 Indigenous languages.
“We are in the midst of an Indigenous renaissance,” Kevin Loring said. “The work over the decades in Indigenous performing arts is coming to a point where we are reaching a critical mass, where artists are bringing new ways of thinking about the work in relation to old ways of telling our stories. Our stories are medicine.”
The NAC Orchestra’s 50th Anniversary European Tour
Music Director Alexander Shelley, the NAC Orchestra and five Canadian soloists shone on the world stage during the 50th Anniversary European Tour, performing in Saffron Walden, London, Paris, Utrecht, Copenhagen, Stockholm and Gothenburg. The Tour showcased works by six Canadian composers, and included the multimedia commission Life Reflected, which tells the stories of four extraordinary Canadians — Alice Munro, Roberta Bondar, Amanda Todd and Rita Joe. “We showed some of the great European capitals that there is something special going on here in Canada — that the level of the ensemble, the quality of our art and our artists is among the world’s best,” Alexander Shelley said. “We were truly cultural ambassadors for Canada.”