The National Arts Centre in Ottawa lit up at night

National Arts Centre | Ottawa Tourism

The Culture Lover's Guide to Opera,  Ballet  and Symphony  in Ottawa 

The National Arts Centre in Ottawa lit up at night

National Arts Centre | Ottawa Tourism

In addition, you’ll discover vivid live theatre, diverse crowd-pleasing festivals and unforgettable live performances of all genres. As you plan your visit, consider attending an opera, symphony or ballet in Ottawa, the elegant theatres and stunning stage presentation add to the magical experience.


Where You’ll Find the Best Opera, Ballet and Symphony in Ottawa

National Arts Centre

Ottawa’s National Art Centre (NAC) is North America’s only multidisciplinary, bilingual performing arts centre. It was first unveiled to the world in 1969 in recognition of Canada’s Centennial. The NAC provides Canada’s young and emerging artists with coaching and development to advance to the next step of their career and sets the stage to showcase their enormous talent. NAC is also the prime Ottawa venue where many well-known touring companies perform. NAC has been the main stage of local talents Ottawa Choral Society and the National Arts Centre Orchestra (NACO). Visit the NAC website to read information about future performance and programming.

National Arts Centre Orchestra

When the National Art Centre (NAC) was created in 1969, the National Arts Centre Orchestra (NAC Orchestra or NACO) was established as NAC’s resident orchestra. NAC Orchestra has a variety of curated concert series that will appeal to a wide range of tastes and interests. Kindernaco showcases music to children from ages three to eight in an interactive and entertaining way; all-star line-ups feature guest conductors and soloists, musicians, special Sunday afternoon performances and more.

University of Ottawa Opera Company

University of Ottawa’s acclaimed music program has generated brilliant talent, and houses a lovely venue to showcase up-and-coming musical artists. Classical operas that have been performed include Mozart’s Don Giovanni and Le Nozze de Figaro. With affordable ticket prices, this is a great opportunity to dive into the operatic experience.

Ottawa Symphony Orchestra

If you enjoy 19th and 20th century classics on a large scale, the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra will not disappoint. The monumental sounds are delivered to you from a large ensemble. OSO is a community based professional orchestra that consists of professional and emerging musicians, including students from university music programs. They are accompanied by a talented local soloist. OSO has a strong commitment to the Ottawa community and features works of Canadian composers in its performances. The OSO performances are at Carleton Dominion-Chalmers Centre, the historical church that was acquired by Carleton University and converted into an intimate performing arts space with excellent acoustics.

Ottawa Pops Symphony

Newcomers to the symphony can ease into discovering the classics through the entertaining programming of Ottawa Pops Orchestra. Founded by young musicians with an appreciation of light-hearted entertainment, Ottawa Pops Symphony is a community-based orchestra that combines classical music with pop culture favourites. Past performances have included Harry Potter, Star Wars, Disney classics and video game themed programs. Don’t be surprised to see attendees dressed as Luke Skywalker or Harry Potter, since the audience is encouraged to dress up in costumes. There are also some entertaining kid-friendly activities before the show starts, so it’s worth attending early if you’re bringing your little ones.

Ottawa Youth Orchestra Academy

Ottawa Youth Orchestra Academy (OYOA) provides musical education and performance opportunities to children as young as preschoolers. OYOA has two orchestras: The Ottawa Junior Youth Orchestra (OJYO) and The Ottawa Youth Orchestra (OYO). The Ottawa Junior Youth Orchestra (OJYO) features 70 musicians that range from ages 11 to 16 with advanced orchestral skills. The OYO are the academy’s most experienced talent. Both orchestras are given the opportunity to perform in front of an audience.  

Pellegrini Opera

Pellegrini Opera was founded by the internationally acclaimed Canadian soprano, Maria Pellegrini, who once shared the stage with notable names such as tenor Luciano Pavarotti. Her small opera company supports emerging talent in the opera scene. Past performances have included Madama Butterfly, Tosca and The Barber of Seville.

Les Petits Ballets

Ballet enthusiasts will enjoy watching performances by the Les Petits Ballets academy. Founded in 1976, the school has been training dancers of all ages and abilities in the Vaganova (Russian) method. Performances are vital to the education of students, so the school regularly holds recitals by their Les Petits Ballets performing company.

Last updated: December 1, 2022

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