Post by Melissa Poon
Casual Fridays are back at the National Arts Centre, and the first of the 2016–2017 season will be taking place this Friday, December 16th.
Every year, select concerts from the NAC’s program are available as part of the Casual Friday concert series. The NAC designed this in order to attract younger, classical music audiences to the stage, and in so doing, established a unique way to enjoy a night out at the NAC that puts a spin on the traditional concert-going experience.
Casual Fridays feature a pre-concert, similar to a cinq-à-sept, with drinks and select Le Café tapas available for purchase, as well live jazz entertainment; this is then followed by a 90-minute concert that plays through without an intermission.
All of these combined serve to create a delectable feast for your senses that tingles your taste buds and entices your eardrums. After the concert, there is a reception complete with a cash bar that gives you time to mingle with musicians from the NAC Orchestra and to chat about the performance with fellow music enthusiasts.
Doors to this upcoming Casual Friday, Stravinsky’s Italian Ballet, open at 5:00pm with the pre-concert reception offering up cocktails and small plates inspired by the concert repertoire itself. Live jazz will create a relaxed and easygoing atmosphere that is the perfect backdrop for you to unwind from your day and get yourself ready for great show. The concert begins at 7:00pm and the evening will be hosted by Sarah Slean. Under the direction of the talented composer/conductor Matthias Pintscher, the NAC Orchestra will be bringing to you Mozart’s Sinfonia concertante for Violin, Viola and Orchestra in E-flat major, K.364 and the whole of Stravinsky’s Pulcinella.
Mozart’s composition is one that sets itself apart from others of its kind composed in the late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth centuries: its great depth of expression and exquisite artistic parity will be brought to life by the NAC Orchestra and highlight the ensemble’s own principal violinist Yosuke Kawasaki and principal violist Jethro Marks as soloists.
Following, audiences will be treated to Stravinsky’s Italian-influenced Pulcinella that sees Stravinsky reimagining eighteenth-century music with a charm and simplicity that people may not expect from him, especially if only familiar with his fiercely modernist The Rite of Spring. The NAC Orchestra has only played Pulcinella twice, once in 1979 and once in 1982. It is sure to be a delight to have this back at the NAC, this time featuring soloists Emma Bell, Nicholas Phan, and Steven LaBrie.
For this concert, the fun and excitement doesn’t end when Pintscher lowers his baton, the orchestra’s last chord rings out in the grandeur of Southam Hall, and audiences have taken to their feet with a standing ovation. The party keeps on going with Mercury Lounge’s DJ Trevor Walker in the main foyer, and everyone is invited to mix and mingle with musicians and fellow concertgoers alike.
Casual Fridays are a superb treat that will thoroughly delight all your senses and after a long week of cold and snow, that is exactly what we all need.
NAC Casual Fridays have been very popular since their inception and if you’re not yet in the know as to why that is, I suggest you get your hands on some tickets and find out!
Upcoming Casual Friday events:
- Friday, December 16, 2016: Stravinsky’s Italian Ballet
- Friday, February 24, 2017: Shelley and Pepe Romero
- Thursday, April 13, 2017: Lisiecki Plays Chopin
Tickets can be purchased online, in person, or through telephone, and start at just $29. If you’re between 13–29 years old, take advantage of your half price discount or go for Live Rush and score a wicked deal where you have the choice of any available seat for just $15 on the day of the performance.