Omara Portuondo and The National Arts Centre Orchestra

Friday June 28 @ 8:30pm


Platinum Single Day Passes offer guaranteed seating in a reserved section at the front and center of the TD Main Stage.

Seating is general admission within the section, however one seat per Platinum Single Day Pass is guaranteed.

Note that there is no Platinum Section at the OLG Stage (although your Single Day Pass grants you access to those shows).

Children under 12 require their own ticket to the Platinum Section.



The diva of the Buena Vista Social Club®, Omara Portuondo is a legendary singer whose voice reflects a long, creative life of passion and music. Omara has been continually performing for an incredible 70 years and while revolutions and wars shook the globe, she has carried on, with indomitable elegance. When Omara hit normal retirement age and was expected to slow down, she went on. Omara is a diva in the best sense and an ambassador of Cuba to the world. Now in her mid-eighties, there is a sense in which the curtains of an era are slowly, elegantly coming down. But she will forever, as the old showbusiness adage has it, ‘always leave them wanting more.’

With a voice steeped in the passion, defiance, and irrepressible joy of her country's mythology, Cuban legend and Buena Vista Social Club member, Omara Portuondo is making the TD Ottawa Jazz Festival a stop on her ‘Last Kiss’ Tour on June 28 at 8:30pm on the TD Main Stage. To mark this special occasion, the songstress will collaborate on stage with the National Arts Centre Orchestra, in its 4th Festival experience.

Omara Portuondo's art form is an invaluable time capsule of Cuba's golden era originating from the classic Cuban genre of filín (pronounced ‘feeling’, a cross between bolero and American jazz) and a member of the fabled Buena Vista Social Club since 1996. Portuondo evokes the classic days of late-night dancing on dusty parquet floors, plumes of cigar smoke, rapturous rhythms echoing off the crumbling walls of Havana's old port.

Omara Portuondo Factoids:

  • Portuondo was born in 1930 in Havana's musically-rich neighbourhood of Cayo Hueso. The daughter of a Spanish socialite and an Afro-Cuban baseball player, her mixed-race household stood in defiance of the era's social norms. Her parents fostered an atmosphere of joy and compassion which would define not only a deep sense of empathy, but her approach to art and life as a whole.
  • The teenage Portuondo achieved notable popularity, first as a dancer at the legendary Tropicana Club, and not long after as a go-to back up singer. She joined the respected Las d'Aida vocal quartet in 1953, eventually spending years on the road backing up Nat King Cole.
  • Her 1959 debut solo album, Magia Negra, was an ambitious collision of Cuban popular music and American Jazz. It quickly placed her among the country's top acts performing in the Filin style, a Cuban take on the orchestral pop of Frank Sinatra, Doris Day, and Glenn Miller, etc.
  • As the Communist revolution of the 1960's plunged Cuba into its long period of political and cultural isolation, Portuondo focused on her blossoming solo career, even performing on sugar cane farms for conscripted field workers.
  • For most of the 1970's, she performed with Cuba's revered charanga ensemble, Orquesta Aragon. By the 1980's, she had achieved the status of a national treasure, continuing to record, perform, and eventually acting on her own television show.
  • 2019's “Last Kiss” tour will be Omara Portuondo's final worldwide tour. But as she tells Rolling Stone, “It’s not over yet,” adding playfully in English: “No bye bye!” See the Rolling Stone article (2019) -