ALEXANDER SHELLEY AND THE NAC ORCHESTRA PERFORM MUSIC FROM WAGNER’S TRANSCENDENT TRISTAN UND ISOLDE IN FINAL PERFORMANCES OF 2015-16 SEASON

May 25, 2016 – OTTAWA (Canada) – On June 2-3, don’t miss the final performances of the 2015-16 season, as Music Director Alexander Shelley and the National Arts Centre Orchestra perform music from Wagner’s transcendent Tristan und Isolde with Henk de Vlieger’s symphonic work entitled An Orchestral Passion.  Colin Currie, one of the world’s finest percussionists, will also perform as soloist in Christopher Rouse’s adventurous Der Gerettete Alberich.

“From the unforgettable poignancy and sensuality of the opening chords of the Prelude, with their history-making harmonic ambiguity, to the final transcendental resolution of the work, Tristan und Isolde contains some of the most ravishing, exciting and quite simply greatest music ever conceived,” says Alexander Shelley.

Richard Wagner’s retelling of this extraordinary love story is a musical landmark that moved away from the traditional, safe harmonic language of the time. The opening chord of Tristan und Isolde became known as the “Tristan Chord” for its ground breaking use of harmonic suspension.

Wagner was one of the first composers to move away from traditional tonal harmony and instead, deliberately prolonged a resolution, creating the same degree of suspense, yearning and longing suffered by the ill-fated lovers. This dramatic shift paved the way for a freer interpretation of orchestral colour, harmony and polyphony with lasting impacts on the development of romantic music.

As Alexander Shelley explains, “The final notes of Wagner’s other great accomplishment, The Ring Cycle, usher in the opening of Christopher Rouse’s percussion concerto Der Gerettete Alberich, which graphically narrates a vision of Alberich’s post-Ring adventures. I am delighted to welcome my dear friend Colin Currie as our soloist.”

American composer Christopher Rouse’s Der Gerettete Alberich (or “Alberich Saved”) incorporates the motifs from Wagner’s 16-hour series of operas The Ring of the Nibelungen -- The Ring Cycle by exploring the fate of Alberich, the evil Niebelung dwarf whose theft of the Rhine Gold sets off the epic tale of greed and betrayal.

Scottish percussionist Colin Currie returns to the NAC to perform as soloist on Rouse’s adventurous work, where the composer asks the soloist to take on the role of Alberich. The concerts are on June 2-3 at 8 p.m. and tickets are available online.

Bilingual pre-concert talks will begin at 7:00 p.m. with Alexander Shelley and Paul Lang, Deputy Director and Chief Curator of the National Gallery of Canada.

The Friends of the NAC Orchestra will also hold a spectacular silent auction on June 2 and 3, in the Main Foyer of the NAC in conjunction with this NAC Orchestra concert. Bid on outstanding and unique donated items from across Canada and around the world. Proceeds benefit the Friends of the NAC Orchestra’s commitment to music education programs for young people. Help us build a fantastic future for music in Canada!

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FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:

Bobbi Jaimet
Senior Marketing Manager, NAC Orchestra
National Arts Centre
(613) 947-7000, ext. 545
bobbi.jaimet@nac-cna.ca

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