Alexander Shelley succeeded Pinchas Zukerman as Music Director of Canada’s NAC Orchestra in September 2015. The ensemble has since been praised as being “transformed… hungry, bold, and unleashed” (Ottawa Citizen) and Shelley’s programming credited for turning the orchestra into “one of the more audacious in North America.” (Maclean’s)
Shelley is a champion of Canadian creation; recent hallmarks include the multimedia project Life Reflected, and three major new ballets in partnership with NAC Dance for Encount3rs. He and the NAC Orchestra have made four recordings with Montreal label Analekta: Life Reflected, Encount3rs, the JUNO-nominated New Worlds, and The Bounds of Our Dreams.
He is passionate about arts education and nurturing the next generation of musicians. He led 1,300 youth in a concert for Ottawa’s Ignite 150, and worked closely with Eskasoni First Nation in Nova Scotia during the NAC Orchestra’s Canada 150 Tour.
Alexander Shelley is also Principal Associate Conductor of London’s Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and was Chief Conductor of the Nuremburg Symphony from 2009 to 2017. He has conducted the Rotterdam Philharmonic, DSO Berlin, Leipzig Gewandhaus, Stockholm Philharmonic and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, among others. This past month, Shelley led the Orchestra on its 50th Anniversary European tour.
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The Music Director role is supported by Elinor Gill Ratcliffe, C.M., O.N.L., LL.D. (hc)
Canadian baritone Joshua Hopkins has been hailed as having “…a glistening, malleable baritone of exceptional beauty.” (Opera Today) In the upcoming season, he makes his role debut as the title role in Billy Budd with Central City Opera, returns to the Metropolitan Opera as Papageno in The Magic Flute, and will sing the role of Orpheus in the world premiere of Matthew Aucoin’s Eurydice with Los Angeles Opera. In 2007, he appeared with the NAC Orchestra in performances of Handel’s Messiah. His first recital disc, Let Beauty Awake, features songs of Barber, Bowles, Glick and Vaughan Williams on the ATMA Classique label.
Erin Wall’s current season includes Elettra in Idomeneo at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Chrysothemis in Elektra at the Canadian Opera Company and Marguerite in Faust with the Washington National Opera. Concert appearances include Four Last Songs with the Chicago Symphony and Edward Gardner, Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 with the Wiener Philharmoniker and Franz Welser-Möst, the War Requiem with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and Peter Oundjian at the BBC Proms, a European tour with the NAC Orchestra and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the Vancouver Symphony.Read full NAC bio ›
A native of Winnipeg, Manitoba, soprano Andriana Chuchman makes her NAC debut in these performances of The Marriage of Figaro. She appears frequently at opera houses around the world including the Canadian Opera Company, Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago and the Hamburg State Opera. She has also performed with the Toronto Symphony, Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Cincinnati Symphony, as well as in Lincoln Center’s White Lights Festival. She is a graduate of the Ryan Opera Center at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, and the San Francisco Opera’s Merola Program.
Gordon Bintner is currently an Ensemble member at Oper Frankfurt, where this season he performs in new productions of Smetana’s Dalibor (Vladislav) and Schreker’s Der ferne Klang (Count), as well as revivals of Ariadne auf Naxos (Harlekin), Rinaldo (Argante), The Marriage of Figaro (Count) and The Magic Flute (Papageno). Bintner also returned to the Canadian Opera Company (COC) in the title role of Eugene Onegin. An alumnus of the COC Ensemble and Atelier Lyrique at Opéra de Montréal, he also enjoys a close association with the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal. This engagement marks his NAC debut.
Mezzo-soprano Katarzyna Sadej was born in Wrocław, Poland. Recent opera performances include her Los Angeles Opera debut as the Page of Herodias in Strauss’ Salome, her South Ottawa Performing Arts Collaborative debut as Le Prince Charmant in Massenet’s Cendrillon, and the title role of Bizet’s Carmen for the Palm Springs Opera Guild. In 2019, she debuts at Opera Chengdu (China) as Giannetta in Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’Amore and this evening’s concert is her first solo appearance with the NAC Orchestra.
Sharon Azrieli’s magnificent soprano has been heard to great acclaim across the globe, from New York to Tokyo, and from Tel Aviv to her native Montreal. This season she made her Metropolitan Opera debut, as Sister Dolcina in Puccini’s Suor Angelica, and performed Berlioz’ Les nuits d’été with the Orchestre classique de Montréal in Montreal. She makes her NAC debut with The Marriage of Figaro. This summer, she sings Glick’s Seven Tableux from the Song of Songs in Warsaw at the Polin Museum and also in Prague with the Czech National Symphony.
Daniel Lichti is acclaimed as one of Canada’s finest concert and oratorio singers and hailed by critics for his “stentorian vocal prowess” and “enormous warmth and majesty.” He appeared with the NAC Orchestra in 2003 for performances of Handel’s Messiah. Highlights in 2019 include the world premiere of Jerusalem by Ruth Fazal, St. Matthew Passion with the Grand Philharmonic Choir and masterclasses in Lyon, France. Daniel Lichti recently sang Schubert’s Die Winterreise in recital in St. Petersburg, Russia, which he will reprise this summer with the Penderecki String Quartet for the Elora Festival.
Acadian tenor Jacques Arsenault began his musical career as a virtuoso accordionist while growing up on Prince Edward Island, prior to discovering his vocal talents as a character tenor. In Toronto, he starred as Freddy in Tapestry Opera’s historical Bandits in the Valley, and in 2017 he made his debut as Ambroise Lepine in the Canadian Opera Company and NAC Orchestra’s acclaimed co-production of Harry Somers’ Louis Riel. Next season, Arsenault debuts as the Italian opera singer Piangi in Phantom of the Opera with Opera on the Avalon.
Canadian-German soprano Anna-Sophie Neher made her Canadian Opera Company (COC) debut this year alongside Thomas Hampson and Karita Mattila, creating the role of Lavia in the world premiere of Hadrian, Rufus Wainwright’s new opera. During her years of study, Neher received many awards and stood out in several competitions, including the McGill University Wirth Prize, the Sylva Gelber Award and the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal Competition. She is making her debut with the NAC singing the role of Barbarina in The Marriage of Figaro. Neher is currently a member of the COC’s prestigious Ensemble Studio.
Canadian baritone Clarence Frazer is an alumnus of Canadian Opera Company’s prestigious Ensemble Studio, and has starred as Figaro with Pacific Opera Victoria in Il barbiere di Siviglia and Marcello with Saskatoon Opera in La Bohème. In 2017, he portrayed James Isbister in the Canadian Opera Company’s acclaimed production of Louis Riel, with further performances at the NAC and L’Opéra de Québec. This spring, he joins the cast of Shanawdithit, a co-production of Tapestry Opera and Opera on the Avalon.
Laurence Ewashko, artistic director
Since their formation in 1992, the Ewashko Singers have become one of the most flexible vocal ensembles in the Nation’s Capital. From Beethoven, Mahler and Verdi to Richard Rodgers, they skilfully perform music across a wide range of genres and languages. This season the Ewashko Singers are collaborating with other choirs and the NAC Orchestra in the NAC’s Pops series, Britten’s War Requiem, Handel’s Messiah, and tonight’s concert version of Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro. The choir also performed Brahms’s Requiem, with double piano accompaniment, at the Festival Pontiac Enchanté in May.Read full NAC bio ›
As a choral clinician, vocal coach and adjudicator, Laurence Ewashko makes a significant contribution to the quality and appreciation of vocal music in Canada and abroad. He regularly prepares choruses for performances at the NAC and conducted Opera Lyra Ottawa’s chorus from 1988 to 2015. He is a Full Professor at the University of Ottawa’s School of Music where he conducts the school’s two choirs and he has been chorus master and vocal coach for the Banff Centre for the Arts. Ewashko is a recipient of the prestigious Leslie Bell Prize for Choral Conducting.
Canadian theatre and opera director, teacher, choreographer and actor, Allison Grant has performed at the Stratford Festival, at the Old Vic in London, and in tours and productions across Canada, the U.S. and England. She has become increasingly in demand as a director and choreographer of opera in Canada and the U.S. Recent directing work includes Hawaii Opera Theatre’s Die Zauberflöte, Le nozze di Figaro for Sarasota Opera, Die Fledermaus for Edmonton Opera. She has directed or choreographed many revival productions at the Canadian Opera Company, including Semele.
Tobi Hunt McCoy is enjoying another year as Season Stage Manager with the NAC Orchestra. In past seasons, she stage managed the Lord of the Rings Symphony, Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream with Christopher Plummer in 2001 and Colm Feore in 2014, and much of the Orchestra’s educational and Pops programming. In 2014, she co-produced the Pops show On the Air with Jack Everly for the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, a show they produced in 2007 for the NAC Orchestra.Read full NAC bio ›
Kai-Yueh Chen is thrilled to be working with the NAC Orchestra for the first time. Previous NAC credits include The Colony of Unrequited Dreams, Tartuffe and Metamorphoses: Based on the Myths of Ovid. Chen has also worked with Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, Canadian Children’s Opera Company, fu-GEN Asian Canadian Theatre, Mirvish Productions, Neptune Theatre, Obsidian Theatre, Soulpepper Theatre, Theatre Direct, and Volcano Theatre. He stage-managed the Toronto 2015 Pan Am closing and ParaPan Am Games opening and closing ceremonies. He is a graduate of McGill University and the National Theatre School of Canada.