The National Arts Centre Orchestra celebrates the season with two marvelous concerts -- Handel’s Messiah (December 14-15) and A Canadian Tenors Christmas with the NAC Orchestra (December 16)

Banish the December doldrums with two extraordinary holiday concerts by the National Arts Centre Orchestra.  Handel’s Messiah will be performed on Tuesday December 14 and Wednesday December 15, and A Canadian Tenors Christmas with the NAC Orchestra will be on Thursday December 16. All concerts are at 7 p.m. (please note early curtain time) in Southam Hall of the National Arts Centre.

Conductor Graeme Jenkins – making his NAC debut -- leads Messiah, the quintessential music ritual of the holiday season. Handel’s inspired and inspiring meditation on the prophecy and fulfillment of God’s plan to redeem the world through a saviour features dazzling arias, orchestral fireworks, and beloved choruses, including the stirring “Hallelujah Chorus.” Soloists performing this holiday classic will be Ottawa-based soprano Ann Monoyios; Canadian mezzo-soprano Elizabeth Turnbull; tenor James Charles Taylor; and baritone Michael Todd Simpson. They will be joined by the Cantata Singers of Ottawa (Michael Zaugg, director) and Seventeen Voyces (Kevin Reeves, director.

George Frideric Handel (1685-1759) – whom Beethoven called “the greatest composer that ever lived” – was arguably the most versatile theatrical composer of the Baroque period. He was born and trained in Germany, achieved mastery and success in every musical genre while in Italy, and then settled for nearly five decades in England, where he assimilated all that nation’s musical styles and specialised in operas and oratorios. Messiah was first performed in Dublin in 1742. It immediately won huge popular success and has become the most performed and recorded and listened-to choral work in the repertoire. The popularity of Messiah is not difficult to explain. Musical scholars note the spaciousness in Handel’s music, the dramatic silences, and the stirring contrast. Handel’s music often blends different styles, including English church music, the German Passion-music tradition, and the Italian melodic style. Although often regarded as Christmas music, Messiah was actually written for Easter, a celebration of birth, but also of death and resurrection. Handel composed Messiah in 24 days without once leaving his house. While writing the "Hallelujah Chorus", his servant discovered him with tears in his eyes.  He exclaimed, “I did think I did see all Heaven before me, and the great God Himself!!” The King was so deeply stirred with the exultant music that when the first ‘Hallelujah’ rang through the hall, he rose to his feet and remained standing until the last note of the chorus echoed through the house.  From this began the custom of standing for the ‘Hallelujah’ chorus.  

Currently on a sold-out 10-city Canadian tour, The Canadian Tenors – Remigio Pereira, Victor Micallef, Fraser Walters, and Clifton Murray -- and their fabulous voices and lush arrangements create a crossover style that’s guaranteed to add special excitement to holiday celebrations. Their music is an exciting blend of classical and contemporary pop that is thrilling audiences around the world. The Canadian Tenors have criss-crossed the globe entertaining millions with their voices, wonderful sense of humour, and memorable music. The foursome have received rave reviews and standing ovations from Tel Aviv to Las Vegas to Toronto and New York City – with hundreds of stops along the way. They have shared the stage with music legends such as Andrea Bocelli, Celine Dion, David Foster, Sting, Sarah McLachlan, Neil Young, and Paul McCartney. In A Canadian Tenors Christmas with the NAC Orchestra, count on hearing selections from their recent Christmas album, The Perfect Gift (which went gold in only three weeks in Canada) -- traditional carols and songs of the season, such as “Silent Night” and “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen,” along with popular Yuletide tunes, and a few surprises.

The NAC Orchestra performs Handel’s Messiah in Southam Hall of the National Arts Centre on Tuesday December 14 and Wednesday December 15 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $26.90, $36.59, $49.50, $58.11, $68.88, $79.64, and $95.78 for adults and $14.61, $19.45, $25.91, $30.21, $35.59, $40.98 and $49.05 for children and students (upon presentation of a valid student ID card). Tickets are available at the NAC Box Office (in person) and through Ticketmaster (with surcharges) at 613-755-1111; Ticketmaster may also be accessed through the NAC’s website www.nac-cna.ca.

A Canadian Tenors Christmas with the NAC Orchestra will be performed in Southam Hall of the National Arts Centre on Thursday December 16 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $20.45, $31.21, $43.05, $55.96, $66.72, $75.33, and $87.17 for adults and $11.38, $16.76, $22.68, $29.14, $34.52, $38.82 and $44.74 for children and students (upon presentation of a valid student ID card). Tickets are available at the NAC Box Office (in person) and through Ticketmaster (with surcharges) at 613-755-1111; Ticketmaster may also be accessed through the NAC’s website www.nac-cna.ca.

Subject to availability, full-time students (aged 13-29) with valid Live Rush™ membership (free registration at www.liverush.ca) may buy up to 2 tickets per performance at the discount price of $12 per ticket. Tickets are available online (www.nac-cna.ca) or at the NAC box office from 10 a.m. on the day before the performance until 6 p.m. on the day of the show or 2 hours before a matinee. Groups of 10 or more save 15% to 20% off regular ticket prices to all NAC Music, Theatre and Dance performances; to reserve your seats, call 613-947-7000, ext. 634 or e-mail grp@nac-cna.ca. For additional information, visit the NAC website at www.nac-cna.ca

Our latest web offering -- coming soon – the NACmusicbox TIMELINE 200 orchestral works, 80 Canadian compositions, 1 interactive TIMELINE. Explore unlimited music connections and discover Canada's contribution to orchestral history. The interactive TIMELINE will offer a visual mapping of our rare online collection. It also includes the addition of 65 Canadian works thanks to financial investment by the Virtual Museum of Canada at the Department of Canadian Heritage. We also acknowledge our partner CBC Radio 2 for providing broadcast-quality recordings of the NAC Orchestra’s archival performances

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Information:    
Gerald Morris
Communications Officer, NAC Music
613-947-7000, ext. 335
[email] gmorris@nac-cna.ca

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