LSM Newswire

Monday, December 7, 2009

Bob Rae, Lisa Raitt, Elizabeth May and Ottawa Mayor Larry O'Brien to Make Onstage Appearances at the Thirteenth Annual Black & White Opera Soirée




OTTAWA, November 26, 2009 Hosted by Sheila Copps and Maxime Bernier, the 13th annual Black & White Opera Soiree features the NAC Orchestra, the Opera Lyra Ottawa Chorus, and magnificent singers performing opera’s most popular hits. The Black & White Opera Soiree -- themed Opera on the Hill -- takes place on Saturday February 27, 2010 at 8 p.m. in Southam Hall of the National Arts Centre. The NAC Orchestra will be conducted by Andrew Grams, and the Opera Lyra Ottawa Chorus is under the direction of Chorus Master Laurence Ewashko.

The Black & White Opera Soiree -- an annual winter benefit for the National Arts Centre Orchestra and Opera Lyra Ottawa -- is presented for the thirteenth year by founding sponsor Bell.

Last year, the Black & White Opera Soiree was acknowledged as one of the freshest and funniest ever, with a sparkling constellation of stars from politics and journalism joining some of Canada’s finest singers and musicians. Major public figures sang, danced, and parodied their public image, and special surprise guests -- politicians, journalists, and entertainers -- made hilarious cameo appearances. That tradition continues this year as brilliant writers skewer the wacky world of Parliament Hill. Appearances have been confirmed by public figures who cover the spectrum of Canadian politics: Bob Rae (Liberal), Lisa Raitt (Conservative), Elizabeth May (Green) and Ottawa Mayor Larry O’Brien.

Bob Rae, Member of Parliament for Toronto Centre, has been elected ten times to federal and provincial parliaments, winning every election he has contested. Bob was Ontario's 21st Premier, from 1990 to 1995. He has experience at the highest levels of government in Canada and was an active participant in some of the most important constitutional talks of the day. Bob Rae ran for the leadership of the Liberal Party in 2006 and 2008. He currently serves as the foreign affairs critic for the Liberal Party of Canada.

The Honourable Lisa Raitt, Minister of Natural Resources, Member of Parliament for Halton, was first elected to the House of Commons in 2008. Prior to that, Ms. Raitt was the President and CEO of the Toronto Port Authority. She had previously served as their general counsel and harbourmaster. As a lawyer, Ms. Raitt specialized in the areas of intellectual property, commercial litigation, and shipping arbitration. Ms. Raitt resides in Halton and is the mother of two boys.

Environmentalist, writer, activist and lawyer Elizabeth May has a four-decade record as a dedicated advocate for social justice, the environment, human rights, and pragmatic economic solutions. She is a graduate of Dalhousie Law School and was admitted to the Bar in both Nova Scotia and Ontario. In 2006, Elizabeth stepped down as Executive Director of the Sierra Club of Canada to run for the leadership of the Green Party of Canada; she was elected the party’s ninth leader in August 2006. Elizabeth May is a mother and grandmother.

In November 2006, voters elected Larry O’Brien as Mayor of Ottawa. A newcomer to politics, Mayor O’Brien stated his commitment to run the city on a more business-like basis. Mayor O’Brien was born in Ottawa and graduated from the Algonquin School of Technology 1972 with a diploma in Technology. He founded CALIAN Technologies Ltd. in 1982 as a one-person consulting company and built it into an internationally competitive technology firm. Mayor O’Brien is married to Colleen McBride and has two sons, Mike and Matthew.

The Black & White Opera Soiree evening includes a cocktail reception, a sumptuous gourmet dinner devised by NAC Executive Chef Michael Blackie, and an elegant post-concert reception with the artists. It’s clear that the Black & White Opera Soiree -- alive with Ottawa’s A-list, from politicians to corporate executives to some of Canada’s most popular artists and entertainers – is the undisputed highlight of the Ottawa social season!

The Black & White Opera Soiree proudly showcases Canadian talent, with proceeds divided equally between the NAC Orchestra and Opera Lyra Ottawa. A vital source of funding for both organizations, since its inception in 1998 the Black & White Opera Soiree has raised more than $2.94 million. All the funds raised stay in the local community, helping to foster Canada’s next generation of talented musical artists. The Black & White Opera Soiree makes possible much-needed education programs and tours to Ottawa-Gatineau schools as well as numerous training, mentoring, and performance opportunities.

The Black & White Opera Soiree takes place on Saturday, February 27, 2010 at the National Arts Centre.

Soiree tickets are $325, which includes a cocktail reception, dinner, concert, and a post-concert party with the stars. Soiree tickets may be purchased through the NAC Foundation at 613-947-7000, ext. 322 or from Opera Lyra Ottawa at 613-233-9200, ext. 224.

Concert-only tickets are $80, $65, and $50 and are available:

· at the NAC Box Office in person or by faxing 613-233-5431

· at the Opera Lyra Ottawa Box Office in person or by calling 613-233-9200, ext. 221

· through Ticketmaster (with surcharges) at 613-755-1111; Ticketmaster may also be accessed through the NAC’s web-site at

For more information on the event please visit the website of the NAC ( ) or of Opera Lyra Ottawa (


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