OPERA America in New Orleans, America’s First City of Opera.

December 4, 2019, marks the 100 year anniversary of a New Orleans civic loss of operatic proportion and January 6, 2020, marks the 50th anniversary of like-minded opera lovers from across the nation joining to nurture the art form. New Orleans Opera heeded the call to recognize both and announces two events for opera lovers and history buffs alike. Tickets are now available for a concert featuring world-renown opera singers that call New Orleans home and a panel discussion on opera in New Orleans. Both events specifically marking the 100 year anniversary of the burning of the French Opera House and 50 years of nation-wide support from OPERA America.

The Events

Discussion: Loss and Rebirth – One hundred years later.

Join the company at the Historic New Orleans Collection on Tuesday, December 3, 2019, 6:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M. for a panel discussion moderated by Marc A. Scorca, President/CEO, OPERA America and featuring Robert Lyall, General and Artistic Director, New Orleans Opera; Givonna Joseph, Founder and Artistic Director OperaCréole; Alfred Lemmon, Director of the William Research Center at The Historic New Orleans Collection; Jack Belsom, New Orleans Opera Archivist and Historian.

Concert: As heard from the stage of the French Opera House.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019, at 7:30 P.M. is the concert featuring Greer Grimsley, Luretta Bybee, Bryan Hymel, Irini Kyriakidou, Sarah Jane McMahon and Dennis Jesse all-singing music heard from the stage of the French Opera House. [ROBERT TO PROVIDE A SENTENCE OR TWO OF A DESCRIPTION HERE]

Ticket Information

  • $15.00 for each event or attend both for $25.00 with this code: xxxxx
  • Students are invited to join us for free with this code: xxxxx (Students: please bring your current student ID to the Will-Call for your ticket
  • Click here for tickets.

Marking Time

On December 4, 1919, the French Opera House was destroyed by fire. Located at 517–541 Bourbon Street the French Opera House was commissioned by opera director Charles Boudousquie and designed by James Gallier. It was built in less than a year in 1859 with workers guided by the light of bonfires in the evenings to accommodate 24 hours a day of construction.

Fifty-one years later, New Orleans Opera was among the first companies in 1970 to join OPERA America, the national membership organization and champion for opera artists, administrators, trustees and audiences. On the occasion of its anniversary in 2020, OPERA America is partnering with its sixteen founding member companies to celebrate a half-century of opera’s progress in America. The strides of the industry over the last fifty years result from the achievements of individual opera companies, administrators, artists and advocates in communities nationwide. This series of regional symposia, generously supported by Bank of America, will provide an opportunity for the founders of OPERA America to highlight their contributions to the vibrancy of opera.

Susan Wisdom

It is with great sadness that we note the passing of an extraordinary woman, Mrs. Susan Wisdom. Susan was an active and engaged board member of both the New Orleans Opera Association and the Women’s Guild, and was an inspiration to the cultural development of the city as a whole through her appreciation of the arts and music.

We join the community in mourning this sudden loss and send love and strength to the extended Wisdom family at this time.

Please find here a link to her obituary.

An Evening with Bizet and Mozart

Presented by New Orleans Opera, Community Works and Dillard University

The first New Orleans Opera Summer Youth Festival and Theatre Camp made its debut in July, 2019.  Originally envisioned and planned as a one-week camp, the decision to expand the undertaking to two weeks was made in May, following a series of meetings with Community Works of Louisiana, and the resulting product was a ten-day intensive that lasted from July 15 to July 26, (with a weekend off for campers after each full week of work). 

The schedule was intense and demanding, but it was also filled with the delights of artistic discovery and joy! During the morning sessions, which lasted from 9:00 a.m. to noon, the campers built extravagant costumes from household objects, like napkins, paper plates and balloons.

They also built bird cages. The concept of these projects – originated and executed by Julie Winn, Costume Master at New Orleans Opera – was to provide dresses for Georges Bizet’s opera Carmen and bird cages for Papageno, a mythical bird-catcher in W.A. Mozart’s opera The Magic Flute. 

Both of these operas are on the list of works that New Orleans Opera will present during the course of our 2019-2020 season.

The afternoon sessions took place from 12:15 to 3:00 p.m.  They were directed by Taylor Ott, who joined the artistic team in Spring, 2019.  Afternoon sessions focused on developing the students’ acting and singing  skill-sets and creating characters for the operas Carmen and The Magic Flute.  Assisted by our music director, conductor and principal vocal coach, Chase Ludeau, the students successfully prepared a thirty minute program, with a script by Taylor Ott and a musical score translation that was revised by William Mouat in order to make it accessible to the students.  Our students ranged from 10 to 12 years in age (grades 4 to 6), and they represented numerous schools in the New Orleans community.

One of the most poignant facets of this summer festival was the collaborative aspect. Community Works Executive Director Chandler Nutik orchestrated the funding for each aspect of the project’s components, from the rental of the technical facilities at Dillard University, to the staff salaries for the New Orleans Opera teaching artists, Julie Winn, Taylor Ott and Chase Ludeau. Community Works On-Site Supervisor Todd Shaffer was also a prime-mover in guaranteeing the success of the endeavor. Todd spent every moment of his time making sure that the students were at the proper locations for the proper events and he went as far as making sure that the t-shirts that Taylor designed for the performance were distributed to each student. We are also tremendously grateful to Cortheal Clark at Dillard University Theatre, and interns Kaila Billups and Dionna Malone. Kaila and Dionna provided technical support and a lighting design, as well as classroom support for the entire project.

In short, this project was a miracle for the students and a shining example of what can be, and is possible for the community of New Orleans in terms of collaborative spirit and arts enrichment education!  Hats off to all and Bravi!

—William Mouat, New Orleans Opera Director of Education, Project Producer and Coordinator, and Artistic Supervisor

The first New Orleans Opera Summer Youth Festival and Theatre Camp made its debut in July, 2019. Act 2 – Bohemian Tavern scene, Carmen
The first New Orleans Opera Summer Youth Festival and Theatre Camp made its debut in July, 2019. Mozart composes the Act 2 Magic Flute, Queen of the Night aria.

Women’s Guild of the New Orleans Opera Association

Founded in 1947, the Women’s Guild promotes and fosters understanding of opera, cooperating with New Orleans Opera through active fundraising, opera advocacy, and custodial care of the Opera Guild Home. With over 350 members, the Women’s Guild ensures that the gift of opera remains an integral part of New Orleans culture.


Membership is open to women ages 21 and above who have an interest in supporting New Orleans Opera through fundraising, special events, and program support. Make new friends and help connect diverse community members through the joy of opera! Membership dues are $50 per year and include:

Attendance at the General Fall Meeting and Past President’s Reception

Attendance at the Eggnog Party and Holiday Boutique

Attendance at the Annual meeting and luncheon

Click here to JOIN NOW and become a member! Please email  Membership VP Brenda Reilly with questions.

Follow the Women’s Guild on Facebook to learn more.

Docent tours of the Opera Guild Home are available

Mondays from 11-3pm
September 9, 2019-May 18, 2020
No Reservations Needed

The Guild Home will be closed for the summer until September 9, 2019

To book a tour of the Guild Home, please go to www.graylineneworleans.com or call 800-233-2628

Opera Club

Good food, good friends and great music. Join the Opera Club and get an insider’s view of the opera company. The Opera Club is a social organization composed of people who love the opera and attend our performances Your membership does not directly support the New Orleans Opera, however, you do get three fabulous dinners throughout the season while rubbing elbows with the stars and might even get a chance to sing some too!

The club is known for its social events. Three times each season, we have a party to enjoy each other’s company and meet the stars of the opera about to be performed. The dinners are held at the beautiful Opera Guild home on Prytania Street and are formal affairs with a catered menu and open bar. Maestro Lyall introduces the stars and speaks about the upcoming performances. In addition to dinner and cocktails, each party includes entertainment related to the upcoming performances.

The club also has an annual holiday gathering. Admittance is separate from club dues but is very reasonable in cost. This event is also held in the Guild home, which is always beautifully decorated for the holiday season.

We would love to have you as a member! If you are interested, click here.

Opera Club Membership

The New Orleans Opera Club would like to invite you to join us in our festive celebration of Grand Opera in New Orleans. This year we will host three dinners that allow you to enjoy the voices of young opera talent, mix and mingle with stars of the season’s productions, and don your best formal or costume attire. Please mark your calendar for the 2018-2019 dinners:

Carmen on Saturday, September 28, 2019

Joan of Arc on Saturday, February 1, 2020

Magic Flute on Saturday, April 25, 2020

In addition, don’t miss our dazzling Holiday Party on Saturday, December 7, 2019.

There are multiple options for joining the festivities.

  • $840 Dual membership fee includes six individual tickets to Opera Club Dinners. You may use the tickets in any combination: two tickets for each dinner, three tickets to two dinners, or even share tickets with friends and family.
  • $420 Single membership includes three tickets to Opera Club Dinners with the same flexibility.
  • Additional tickets can be purchased by Opera Club members for $140 per ticket. If you would like to attend one or more dinners without a membership, individual non-member tickets are $165 each.

Making this work will require an RSVP policy to manage the cost of the dinners.

  1. You must RSVP no later than one week before the dinner and include the number attending;
  2. If you do not RSVP, you will not be admitted. Remember, space is limited;
  3. If you RSVP and do not show up, your ticket will be considered used.

Join us for wonderful evenings of food, friends, and fun. We thank you for your past support and look forward to seeing you at the New Orleans Opera Club events.

Regards –

Jayne S Weiss MD

President, New Orleans Opera Club

Donald W. Wood, Sr Vocal Competition

  • Saturday, October 26, 2019
  • 1:00 p.m.
  • Freda Lupin Memorial Hall at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts at 2800 Chartres Street, New Orleans, LA 70117. 

The Wood Competition is in its fifth year as a significant young artist entry vehicle into the professional realm of singing.  Past participants have enjoyed regional, national and international celebrity as young artist professionals. The competition is a collaborative effort between the New Orleans Opera Association, the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, Tulane University, and Loyola University New Orleans.

All local and regional voice teachers are invited to enter their students for this contest, and the deadline is Midnight, Tuesday, September 10, 2019.  From the pool of applicants, a selection of approximately 25 high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors will be chosen by the New Orleans Opera Association to sing in the competition.  Two first-place winners (male and female) will be awarded $1,000 each; two second-place winners (male and female) will receive $500 each. Please download the informational flier and competition application to share with others.

Check-in will be at 12:30 p.m. on October 26, 2019, with the competition beginning promptly at 1:00 p.m. The Donald W. Wood, Jr. Competition is free and open to the public and should end by 5:00 p.m.

The 2019-2020 student vocalists competing in the Donald W. Wood Sr. Vocal Competition are as follows:

Nadia Abboud-Joffe (f); Sophomore, Lusher Charter School, New Orleans, Louisiana, Instructor: Dr. Beth Rota

Lauren Albano (f); Junior, New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, New Orleans, Louisiana, Instructor: Phyllis Treigle

Kieva Banks (f); Senior, New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, New Orleans, Louisiana, Instructor: Phyllis Treigle

Dallas Blackmore (m); Junior, Chalmette High School, Chalmette, Louisiana, Instructor: Annelise Cassar Tedesco

Brooklyn Burt (f); Sophomore, New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, New Orleans, Louisiana, Instructor: Phyllis Treigle

Julia Ernst (f); Senior, Archbishop Hannan High School, Covington, Louisiana, Instructor: Dr. Maryanne Kyle

Kadin Gaubert (m); Senior, Hahnville High School, Boutte, Louisiana, Instructor: Craig Matherne

Elijah Geeting (m); Senior, Chalmette High School, Chalmette, Louisiana, Instructor: Annelise Cassar Tedesco

Henry Hebert (m); Sophomore, Holy Cross High School, New Orleans, Louisiana, Instructor: Meredith Hotard

Emily Jones (f); Junior, Haynes Academy for Advanced Studies, Metairie, Louisiana, Instructor: Megan Dearie

Lukas Kolb (m); Senior, Lusher Charter School, New Orleans, Louisiana, Instructor: Dr. Beth Rota

Jezuete Lafuente (m); Senior, Chalmette High School, Chalmette, Louisiana, Instructor: Annelise Cassar Tedesco

Sophia Lucurto (f); Sophomore, Chalmette High School, Chalmette, Louisiana, Instructor: Annelise Cassar Tedesco

Maddy Manning (f); Sophomore, Stanford Online High School, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Instructor: Patricia O’Neill

Joy Menzies (f); Sophomore, New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, New Orleans, Louisiana, New Orleans, Louisiana, Instructor: Phyllis Treigle

David Meyer (m); Senior, Chalmette High School, Chalmette, Louisiana, Instructor: Annelise Cassar Tedesco

Arwen Morley-Zender (f), Junior, New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, New Orleans, Louisiana, Instructor: Phyllis Treigle

Emma Navarro (f); Sophomore, New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, New Orleans, Louisiana, Instructor: Phyllis Treigle

Rayna Oggs (f); Senior, Chalmette High School, Chalmette, Louisiana, Instructor: Annelise Cassar Tedesco

Abigail Roques (f); Senior, Pensacola Christian Academy, Slidell, Louisiana; Instructor: Joy Greene Meade

Sarah Schexnayder (f); Senior, New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, New Orleans, Louisiana, Instructor: Phyllis Treigle

Sebastien Shays (m); Senior, Lusher Charter School, New Orleans, Louisiana, Instructors: Dr. Beth Rota and Dr. William Mouat

Kate Tomeny (f); Sophomore, Mount Carmel Academy, New Orleans, Louisiana, Instructor: Megan Dearie

Olivia Tuck (f); Sophomore, New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, New Orleans, Louisiana, Instructor: Phyllis Treigle

A’farrah Wallace (f); Senior, New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, New Orleans, Louisiana, Instructor: Phyllis Treigle


  • Arthur A. Crais, Jr.
  • Peter R. Brigandi, Jr.
  • Nina and Larry Pugh
  • Susan and Vern Raburn
  • The National Philanthropic Trust
  • Drs. Theresa and Rand Voorhies
  • The Donald W. Wood Sr. Family


LURETTA BYBEE, B.M., Baylor University, Associate Professor of Voice, Loyola University New Orleans College of Music and Media. Ms. Bybee has been privileged to serve on the faculties of the University of Michigan, Aspen Music Festival, and has served as both Chair of Opera Studies and Chair of Vocal Arts at the New England Conservatory of Music.  She continues to teach voice at New England Conservatory. Ms. Bybee has served several times as judge for the Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions, along with many other vocal competitions. She has sung with numerous opera companies and orchestras in the United States and abroad. She is particularly known for her Carmen, having sung the Bizet heroine throughout the United States and Europe.

LORAINE SIMS,  Associate Professor and Vocal Studies Division Chair at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, the Edith Killgore Kirkpatrick Professor of Voice, Louisiana State University, past Southern Regional Governor of the National Association of Teachers of Singing and is also a member of the National Opera Association and Music Teachers National Association. Ms. Sims has achieved critical-acclaim for her “vibrant, bell-like soprano” as well as her “warm intimacy, engaging passion and casual artistry.” She is an active recitalist whose voice has been described as “remarkably versatile, ranging from delicate lyricism to dramatic power” and her repertoire includes a broad spectrum of songs and arias from the Baroque through Contemporary periods as well as a variety of selections from the American Musical Theater tradition.

C. LEONARD RAYBON, D.M.A., Louisiana State University, M.A. University of York, Associate Professor of Music; Choir Director, Voice, The Virginia Beer Professor of Music Tulane University, School of Liberal Arts/Newcomb Department of Music. After earning a bachelor’s degree from William Carey College in music education, he won a Rotary Ambassadorial Fellowship to study in York, England, where he earned his master’s degree in music. His doctorate, from Louisiana State University, is in choral conducting with a minor in vocal performance. He has been on the faculty of Tulane for thirteen years. He has presented papers in Honolulu, Hawaii, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and has had an article on Bach’s “Jesu, meine Freude” published in The American Organist. In 2009 he was invited as guest conductor in Tel-Aviv, Israel. Raybon has won two Big Easy Awards for his musical direction in Pirates of Penzance and Man of La Mancha at Summer Lyric Theatre at Tulane University School of Liberal Arts. He was recently a featured soloist and chorister in Claudio Monteverdi’s Vespro della Beata Vergine at the Marigny Opera House in New Orleans.


Three Preliminary Judges listened to the audio submissions and picked the students chosen to compete in today’s Wood Competition. We had many more applications but only 24 were chosen to compete. The Preliminary Judges are:

IVAN GRIFFIN – Voice Instructor, Loyola University New Orleans

Read more at:  https://www.ivangriffinsings.com and http://cmm.loyno.edu/music/bio/ivan-griffin

CAROL RAUSCH – Chorus Master at the New Orleans Opera Association and Director of Opera Theatre at Loyola University New Orleans.

Read more at: http://cmm.loyno.edu/music/bio/carol-rausch

DR. BETSY USCHKRAT – Musical Theatre Voice Instructor, Loyola University New Orleans Read more at http://cmm.loyno.edu/theatre/bio/betsy-uschkrat


Founded in 2015, The Donald W. Wood Sr. Vocal Competition (Wood Competition) is a collaboration between the New Orleans Opera Association, Loyola University New Orleans College of Music and Fine Arts, Tulane University Department of Music, and New Orleans Center for Creative Arts. The contest is open to all Louisiana high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors. The Wood Competition promotes artistic excellence, provides financial support to young vocalists, and encourages young local singers in vocal music.

Created by New Orleans Opera board member, Debby Hirsch Wood in honor of her late husband Donald W. Wood Sr., the Wood family has granted funding for the competition to continue in perpetuity in his name. Donald Wood Sr. loved opera and was supportive of NOOA’s educational endeavors.

Pictured above, left to right: Dade Michael Dufrene, Olivia Belle Gray, Julian Maccrea Revell,Debby Hirsch Wood, Sarah-Katherine McCallum,  Ashton Louis Stephens,  Andrew David Aceves, Lauren A. Albano, Kieva Ja’Lisa Banks. Photo credit: Thomas Grosscup at Nunemaker Hall at Loyola University, Sunday, October 21, 2018

View the list of the competition winners by year here.

Student Night Out

Carmen – Wednesday, October 2, 2019 at 7:00 p.m. at Mahalia Jackson Theater

Joan of Arc – Wednesday, February 5, 2020 at 7:00 p.m. at Mahalia Jackson Theater

Charlie Parker’s Yardbird – Wednesday, April 1, 2020 at 7:00 p.m. at The New Orleans Jazz Market

The Magic Flute – Wednesday, April 29, 7:00 p.m. at Mahalia Jackson Theater

Through the generous support of our sponsors, we are able to provide FREE tickets to our fully staged dress rehearsals to regional students! Please fill out this form to request Student Night Out tickets for your school group or community-based organization. We are able to provide one (1) free chaperone ticket for every five (5) students who are confirmed to attend.

Please note:

  • Our Preview Performances are funded in part by foundation and corporate grants, many of which stipulate certain criteria when they are awarded. One of the primary stipulations is that the funds be applied to the cost of providing students with an opera experience. Therefore, we maximize the number of students attending these performances.
  • We kindly ask you to limit the number of adults in your group to one adult per 5 children. You will note that the tickets contain a barcode so that we may monitor this information. Adults will be admitted only if they have a SPECIFIC STUDENT NIGHT OUT ticket. If your student participation is less than you anticipated, then your chaperone number should decrease, as well.

PLEASE DO NOT CALL IN YOUR ORDER. Use this form to order tickets/make changes, etc.

2019 – 2020 Opéra Nouvelle Schedule

September 6, 2019-–7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Carmen and Late 19th Century French Opera: Friday Nights at NOMA!

October 20, 2019 —3:00 p.m. Sculpture Gardens Mixed-Media Concert at NOMA.

January 16, 2020—6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Joan of Arc, Une femme pour les âges: Ogden Museum After Hours!

March 1, 2020—7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Opera Americana and Music to Lift the Spirit: Temple Sinai!

April 7, 2020—7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. The Star-Blazing Queen, The Magic Flute and Hubble Telescope Images: SECOND ANNUAL Deutsches Haus Kulturabend!

April 18, 2020 — 3:00 p.m.Characters from The Magic Flute at NOMA’s Sculpture Garden

Innovative Connections in 2019-2020 include the literary figure of Carmen, along with the historical figure of Joan of Arc that allows our audiences to witness two women of power. Carmen – originally a creation by Prosper Merimée – is a freedom-loving gypsy who follows her true nature even unto death, as does the real-life Joan of Arc, who was burned at the stake for her leadership and her convictions.  The Temple Sinai concert will feature predominant American composers of opera who were (and are) influenced by jazz and musical theatre legends like Charlie Parker, whose life will be the centerpiece of our early April 2020 opera, Charlie Parker’s Yardbird. Our final offering will be a continuation of the celebration of Austrian composer Mozart and Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute) with stunning visual images from the Hubble Telescope in a spectacular feast for the senses!

Guest Speakers and Artists

Join our roster of guest speakers, musicians, and singers, each with a unique perspective on the upcoming operas!

For More Information, Contact:

William Manning Mouat

Director of Education

Phone: 504.267.9535

E-mail: Education@neworleansopera.org

School Performances

We offer a variety of performances for your school or educational center and can create custom performances and programming as needed.

September through May – bookings dependent on artists’ availability


Opéra Creole Artistic Director Givonna Joseph’s engaging program for grades PK through 12 is designed for piano and voice.  A solo performer will explore a kaleidoscope of African and African-American songs, storytelling, poetry, and spirituals. The program also includes selections from both the Broadway stage and opera. This program is also suitable for adult audiences.

GOALS: A Celebration in Song exposes children and adults to the rich cultural heritage and music of New Orleans and beyond.  It is typically presented as a supplement to the black history month curriculum content for elementary and secondary students.

Hansel and Gretel – Grades Pre-K – 5 & Family groups

Our delightful adaptation of this classic favorite for grades PK – 5 introduced thousands of children to opera and continues to enchant new audiences. The fully staged and costumed reenactment of the Grimm Brothers’ fairy tale is a perennial favorite.

GOALS: This 50 minute piece is adapted from the Engelbert Humperdinck opera of the same title, and artists are available for a live question and answer session immediately following the performance.  The opera parallels the storyline of the original folk story, which serves an important literacy connection for the targeted grades.

Little Red Riding Hood – Grades Pre-K – 6/Family groups

This fully-staged and costumed touring opera, is designed for grades PK- 6 schoolchildren and also contains humor that parents and teachers will appreciate. The Wolf, the Woodsman, Mother and Grandmother are hilarious re-creations of the classic storybook characters. The title character is wise beyond her years and has a LOT of surprises in store for the not-so-wily wolf.

GOALS: This 44 minute piece was composed for elementary students and artists are available for a live question and answer session immediately following the performance.  The “safety first” aspect of the storyline, which emphasizes that children should not speak to strangers, is instructive and valuable – especially for younger elementary grades – yet it does not detract from the comedy and musical variety!