LSM Newswire

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

NAC to mark its 40th birthday on June 2

Canada's National Arts Centre (NAC) will mark 40 years of unlimited possibilities on Tuesday, June 2, 2009, at 8 p.m., during a special, free celebration in the NAC's Southam Hall, featuring
Pinchas Zukerman and the National Arts Centre Orchestra, artists from The National Ballet of Canada, world renowned baritone Russell Braun and many more.

The 40th Anniversary Celebration will be co-hosted by Canadian ballet icon Veronica Tennant who was among the first dancers to perform on the Southam Hall stage (then known as the Opera) and playwright Michel Marc Bouchard, a longtime NAC collaborator and creator of Lilies (Les Feluettes), considered one of the major works of Canadian Theatre.

Tickets for the evening are free and have been distributed on a first-come-first-served basis to NAC subscribers as well as to the public at large through a special lottery, which was widely advertised in the media over the last few weeks. Dignitaries from the world of politics, the arts and business will also be in attendance.

For this special celebration, the audience will be transported back to the National Arts Centre's opening week in June 1969 when William Shakespeare's ballet adaptation of Romeo and Juliet with music by Sergei Prokofiev and choreography by the legendary John Cranko was performed for the very first time at the NAC by The National Ballet of Canada.

In fact, Romeo and Juliet, with its universally enduring themes of love and youth will be featured prominently throughout the June 2 celebration: Pinchas Zukerman will lead the NAC Orchestra in a rendition of Tchaikovsky's mesmerizing Overture to Romeo and Juliet; The National Ballet of Canada dancers Chan Hon Goh and Zdenek Konvalina will perform the famous balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet, one of the most beautiful pas de deux ever choreographed; and young Quebec actors Steve Gagnon and Alexandrine Warren will perform some of the most memorable scenes from the theatre adaptation of Romo et Juliette, conceived by Christian Lapointe and translated by Normand Chaurette.

Over the past four decades, the National Arts Centre has prided itself on celebrating and developing the very best artistic talent Canada has to offer. Therefore it is fitting that the
June 2 celebration will feature a work choreographed and performed by
Matjash Mrozewski, one of the most exciting and original voices in the dance world today. It is also fitting that the orchestration for this work, called Bringing the Tiger Down from the Mountain II, was previously commissioned by the NAC from B.C. composer Alexina Louie. For this performance, Maestro Zukerman will lead the NAC Orchestra, featuring soloist Amanda Forsyth on the cello.

Other highlights of the 40th Anniversary Celebration include brilliant baritone Russell Braun, one of Canada's best operatic voices, who will perform Richard Wagner's O du mein holder Abendstern with the NAC Orchestra under the direction of Maestro Zukerman. There will also be a performance of Elgar's Salut d'amour, Opus 12, by the NAC Orchestra featuring Maestro Zukerman on violin, as well as a performance of a special monologue and of Bertold Brecht and Kurt Weill's The Bilbao Song by Gemini Award-winner Diane D'Aquila under the direction of NAC English Theatre Artistic Director Peter Hinton..

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