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Video game soundtrack, Renée Fleming, Viola Desmond play among upcoming NAC season

An orchestral performance of video game music from "Final Fantasy" is new territory for the National Arts Centre's upcoming season.

An orchestral performance of video game music from "Final Fantasy" is new territory for the National Arts Centre's upcoming season.

The Ottawa-based performing arts organization announced a 2024/2025 lineup Thursday that includes NAC Orchestra's first-ever take on music from a video-game soundtrack, a dramatization of Arthur Miller's trip to China to stage “Death of a Salesman," and appearances by Indigenous performer Jeremy Dutcher and soprano Renée Fleming. 

"Final Symphony" includes orchestral suites based on music originally composed for the long-running video game series "Final Fantasy," slated Jan. 10 to 11, 2025.

Part of the Pops Series, the concerts will include fan-favourites "Terra's Theme" from "Final Fantasy VI" and "Tifa's Theme" from "Final Fantasy VII" — both composed by Nobuo Uematsu — and "Besaid" from "Final Fantasy X," composed by Uematsu and Masashi Hamauzu. 

The English Theatre program includes “Salesmen in China” from the Stratford Festival, running Jan. 16 to 25, 2025. It traces Miller's 1983 journey to Beijing to stage a Mandarin-language production of his play "Death of a Salesmen."

The NAC English Theatre will also mount the Viola Desmond-focused civil rights story “Controlled Damage,” co-produced with Halifax's Neptune Theatre from Feb. 13 to 22, 2025.

The season begins with the 10-day festival "Sphere," running Sept. 10 to 20, with artists including Dutcher and Fleming and newly commissioned radio plays from Canadian playwrights David Yee and Berni Stapleton.

NAC Indigenous Theatre will mark its fifth anniversary with shows including the multimedia dance works “Homelands,” honouring Indigenous women Sept. 19 and 20, and “Raven Mother,” co-presented by NAC Dance in honour of the late Manitoba Cree Elder Margaret Harris, from Nov. 21 and 22.

The managing director for the NAC Indigenous Theatre said the upheaval of the past five years was unexpected but the organization is proud of online offerings during the pandemic.

"The fact we've been live and on stage in front of audiences again has been absolutely incredible," Lori Marchand said in a phone interview.

"We've had incredible responses to the work."

NAC Orchestra's long-running Pops Series will also include live soundtracks to Will Ferrell’s Christmas comedy “Elf” from Dec. 11 to 13 and Steven Spielberg’s “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” from March 27 to 29, 2025.

Meanwhile, the popular music program will include '80s hitmakers Glass Tiger on Nov. 23, R&B artist Jully Black on Feb. 28, 2025 and Montreal drag queen Mado Lamotte on March 6, 2025.

NAC will also continue to offer $15 tickets to Indigenous audience members and those under 30.

Marchand says it's their "way of thanking that community and ensuring that they have a way to come see their stories on the national stage."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on May 9, 2024.

Alex Goudge, The Canadian Press