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News

Introducing The New Orleans Opera Ambassadors!

The Ambassadors pictured above: Top row, I-r: Alan Gandolfi, Janet Wilson, Claudia Copeland; Center row, l-r: Carol Rausch, Dylan Trần, Mark Anthony Thomas; Bottom row, l-r: Tony Domino, Zara Zemmels.

Social Media.

It’s here to stay!

Billions of dollars are spent every year studying marketing metrics on social media. Most everyone spending this money is eager to find out, “Who out here is interested in us?”

That question and our eagerness to find all potential audience members led us to develop the New Orleans Opera Ambassador program. Word-of-mouth outreach from those who genuinely care about a cause is far more effective for organizational exposure and growth than any amount of money.

If you are reading this, you are among those we invite to help us with this effort.
How?
  • Like us on all social media outlets and share our stories and event information with a personalized comment.
  • Use this hashtag to follow along with the Ambassadors, artists, and staff #OperaNOLA
  • We’ll be following the hashtag closely and will randomly reward people for participating with tickets, opera keepsakes, etc.

Follow and Like us here:

Just One Word.

Our Ambassadors are all members of the New Orleans Opera Chorus. When asked to describe the feeling of performing with the New Orleans Opera, here’s what they said:

Tell us your word on your social media with #OperaNOLA.

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Bio

Bios for The Orpheum Sessions – A Night at the Opera

New Orleans Opera and Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra

Virtual Premiere, April 9, 2021

Jasmine Habersham, Soprano

American soprano Jasmine Habersham is a versatile and dynamic performing artist whose voice has been hailed as “exquisite” by Broadway World and possessing a “well-controlled, silvery tone had an alluring presence” by Opera Today. Her 2019-2020 season included Calaveras 2 in Frida with The Atlanta Opera, and her return to Minnesota Opera as Sarah Ruth in Edward Tulane. This season, she performed in Opera in the Park Online with Madison Opera, is a Company Player with The Atlanta Opera where she sings The Girl in Der Kaiser von Atlantis and Micaela in Carmen and makes her debut with Seattle Opera as Zerlina in their filmed Don Giovanni. Additional recent performances for Ms. Habersham include Pip in Moby Dick with Opera San Jose and Utah Opera, Katie Jackson in the world premiere of Joel Puckett’s The Fix with Minnesota Opera, Clara in Porgy and Bess with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and the Utah Festival Opera, Adina in L’elisir d’amore with the Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice, Pamina in The Magic Flute with Opera Theatre of St. Louis: Opera on the Go, Papagena in Die Zauberflöte with Cincinnati Opera, and Yum-Yum in the The Mikado with Kentucky Opera. 

Betsy Uschkrat, Soprano

Soprano Betsy Uschkrat is a two-time Regional Finalist for the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and winner of several operatic competitions including Mobile Opera’s 2016 Competition, Shreveport Opera’s 2009 Singer of the Year, Birmingham Opera’s 2009 Competition, and the Fielder Grant of Austin, Texas. Past performances include The Kennedy Center in Washington D. C., New Orleans Opera, Opera Idaho, Shreveport Opera, Pensacola Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, and Opéra Louisiane. Past roles include the title characters of Susannah, Manon, Roméo et Juliette, as well as Carmen (Micaela), Dialogues of the Carmelites (Blanche), Don Giovanni (Donna Anna), L’elisir d’amore (Adina), Die Zauberflöte (Pamina), Tabasco (Fatima) and Carousel (Julie Jordan). Ms. Uschkrat is a graduate of the University of Houston, Indiana University and Louisiana State University. She competed in the Miss America Pageant as Miss Indiana 2006.

Casey Candebat, Tenor

Casey Candebat, a native of New Orleans, has been hailed by the L.A. Times as having “the big, straightforward Italian sound” and by the San Francisco Chronicle as being one of the up-and-coming stars of opera. A recent two-time participant in the illustrious Merola Opera Program, Mr. Candebat performed the role of Il Podestà in Mozart’s La Finta Giardiniera, covered the role of Mr. Owen in Argento’s Postcard from Morocco, and sang scenes from Werther and La Rondine to high acclaim on the Merola Grand Finale. He returned to Merola Opera in 2014 to perform the role of Mitch in Andre Previn’s A Streetcar Named Desire and a highly acclaimed scene from Mascagni’s L’amico Fritz. Recently, Mr. Candebat has been heard as George in Der Vampyr with New Orleans Opera and Mitch in A Streetcar named Desire with Opera Grand Rapids. He was also featured in New Orleans Opera’s productions of Salome, Madama Butterfly, Rigoletto, Il Trittico, Manon Lescaut, La Bohème, and Turandot.  Mr. Candebat was a young artist at Chautauqua Opera in their 2009 and 2010 seasons. He was also a young artist at Opera North where he performed the role of Dr. Cajus in Verdi’s Falstaff. Equally at home in concert work and oratorio, Mr. Candebat recently performed Verdi’s Messa da Requiem with the New West Symphony in Los Angeles. He has also performed the tenor solos in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, Mozart’s Coronation Mass, and Schubert’s Mass in E-flat, to name a few. Mr. Candebat has won several prestigious vocal competitions, including the Grand Prize in the Bel Canto Foundation Voice Competition, 2011, a four-time regional finalist at the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, and the Chautauqua Opera Guild’s Encouragement Award, 2010. Mr. Candebat is a graduate of Northwestern University and Loyola University New Orleans.

Dennis Jesse, Baritone

Dennis Jesse has performed in a variety of genres both nationally and internationally. Beginning on the musical theater stage, he moved to operetta and then a twenty-year career in grand opera. He frequents the stages of many of America’s opera houses. Last season he was scheduled to appear in productions with New Orleans Opera, Opéra Louisiane, Sinfonia da Camara and Pensacola Opera. On the concert stage, he appeared with Acadiana Symphony, Lawrence University, and with the Pensacola Choral Society, and, on the recital stage, he appeared at Stephen F. Austin State University and Young Harris College. Recently, he has been seen in productions with Central City Opera, Opera Ithaca and Opera Orlando. Mr. Jesse is an Associate Professor at LSU and he is the General and Artistic Director of a summer abroad program sponsored by LSU in Orvieto and Rome, Italy titled “Opera Festival di Roma.” For eleven years, he has served on the international faculty of La Musica Lirica, an intensive summer abroad program for young opera singers.

Thomas Wilkins, LPO Principal Guest Conductor

Thomas Wilkins is Music Director of the Omaha Symphony; a position he has held since 2005. Additionally, he is Principal Conductor of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, and holds the Germeshausen Family and Youth Concert Conductor Chair with the Boston Symphony. In August of 2017 he assumed the Henry A. Upper chair of Orchestral Conducting established by the late Barbara and David Jacobs as a part of Indiana University’s “Matching the Promise Campaign.” Past positions have included resident conductor of the Detroit Symphony and Florida Orchestra (Tampa Bay), and associate conductor of the Richmond (VA) Symphony. He also has served on the music faculties of North Park University (Chicago), the University of Tennessee in Chattanooga, and Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond. Devoted to promoting a life-long enthusiasm for music, Thomas Wilkins brings energy and commitment to audiences of all ages. He is hailed as a master at communicating and connecting with audiences. Following his highly successful first season with the Boston Symphony, the Boston Globe named him among the “Best People and Ideas of 2011.” In 2014, Wilkins received the prestigious “Outstanding Artist” award at the Nebraska Governor’s Arts Awards, for his significant contribution to music in the state. And in March of 2018, the Longy School of Music will award Thomas Wilkins the Leonard Bernstein Lifetime Achievement Award for the Elevation of Music in Society.

Categories
Bio

Bios for The Medium

New Orleans Opera

Virtual Premiere, April 16, 2021

James Marvel, Director

Internationally acclaimed stage director James Marvel was born and raised in New Orleans and made his Lincoln Center debut in 2008 with the Juilliard Opera Center. Since his professional directing debut in 1996, James has directed over 100 productions and was named Classical Singer Magazine’s “2008 – Stage Director of the Year.” Career highlights include groundbreaking new productions for the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia, Opera Carolina, Opera Boston, Opera Santa Barbara, Syracuse Opera, Opera Grand Rapids, Austin Lyric Opera, San Antonio Opera, Kentucky Opera, Virginia Opera, North Carolina Opera, Toledo Opera, Sacramento Opera, Utah Festival Opera, Aspen Music Festival, Wolf Trap Opera, Santa Fe Opera, San Francisco Opera’s Merola Program, Indiana University, and the University of Southern California.

International credits include a new production of Carmen for Opera Africa in Johannesburg and Die Zauberflöte for the Seoul International Opera in South Korea. Other international credits include work in Canada, Scotland, England, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary. He serves as Director of Opera for the University of Tennessee at Knoxville.

Robert Lyall, Conductor and New Orleans Opera Artistic Director

In the realms of symphony and opera, Robert Lyall has pursued an active conducting career launched as a winner of the American Symphony Orchestra League’s National Conducting Competition. This achievement brought Lyall a fellowship to the Shenandoah Valley Music Festival and the tutelage of Dr. Richard Lert. Soon after, Lyall went to Amsterdam to study with celebrated Russian maestro, Kyril Kondrashin, and garnered support from the Fulbright and Woodrow Wilson Fellowship Foundations for subsequent graduate studies for his Ph.D. degree.

During the course of Lyall’s career, he has served as General and Artistic Director of six organizations: The Victoria Symphony Orchestra, Oak Ridge Symphony, the Knoxville Opera Company, the Mississippi Opera, Michigan’s Opera Grand Rapids, and is currently completing his twenty-third season with the New Orleans Opera (1998-2021). His guest conducting performances stretched from Russia, Italy, Spain, Mexico, the Carnegie Hall of Amsterdam and to Turkey where he spent several seasons as a Principal Guest Conductor for the Istanbul State Opera.

In 2017, Robert Lyall was knighted by the French government with the title “Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters.”

Victoria Livengood, Mezzo-soprano

Grammy Award-winning Metropolitan Opera star, Victoria Livengood, has been hailed as “one of the leading singer-actresses of her generation.” Since her acclaimed Met debut in 1991, the Thomasville, North Carolina native has become known for her dynamic portrayals in more than 125 Met performances, including the title role of Carmen opposite Placido Domingo. In a career that spans nearly 4 decades, her prolific versatility has allowed her to sing well over 100 different roles with the world’s leading opera companies, including Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Santa Fe, Washington DC, Seattle, Houston, Miami, Barcelona, Madrid, Salzburg, Buenos Aires, Monte Carlo, Taipei, Seoul, Tel Aviv, Las Palmas, Nice, Santiago, Cologne, Vancouver, Montreal, the New York City Opera, and at Italy’s Spoleto Festival, where she closely collaborated with composer and mentor, Gian Carlo Menotti on this signature role of Baba in The Medium. This “Dixie Diva” is an inductee into the North Carolina Musicians Hall of Fame and holds honorary doctorates from the Boston Conservatory at Berklee and Jacksonville University. “Miss Vickie” is also a private voice instructor and has studios in NYC and Charlotte, NC. During the pandemic, she has mentored students from around the globe. More information on Victoria can be viewed at www.victorialivengood.com.

Sarah Jane McMahon, Soprano

Praised by The New York Times as “bright, active, and fastidiously musical,” and by Opera News as having “a golden sound,” New Orleans native Sarah Jane McMahon performs with the world’s top opera companies and symphony orchestras. Recent highlights include appearances at the prestigious Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires as Stella in A Streetcar Named Desire, Micaela in Carmen with New Orleans Opera, Maria in The Sound of Music (with her daughter as Gretl!) with the Jefferson Performing Arts Society, and concert performances with The Colorado Symphony, Shreveport Symphony, and Midland Odessa Symphony. Sarah Jane has appeared with the Los Angeles Opera, Dallas Opera, and the Washington Concert Opera, among many others. With the New York City Opera at Lincoln Center, she performed as Galatea in Acis and Galatea, earning her the coveted Kolozsvár Award; in Purcell’s King Arthur; and as Mabel in The Pirates of Penzance for which The New York Times called her “the most polished and flexible singer in the cast.” Concert credits include the San Francisco Symphony, Munich Philharmonic, the Vienna Konzerthaus, Carnegie Hall (New York), the Cleveland Pops, the Portland Symphony, and the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra.  She is a summa cum laude graduate of both Loyola and Yale Universities, performs frequently with Lyrica Baroque, and serves as a principal cantor at St. Louis Cathedral in New Orleans.  For more information, please visit: www.sarahjanemcmahon.com

Carlo Barrera

Carlo Barrera appeared in Jefferson Performing Arts Society’s The Nutcracker and Tulane University’s Musical Theater Workshop production of Breathe: A Corona Quintet. A 2020 Jesuit High School graduate, Carlo was an active performer with the Philelectic Society (the Phils) and is continuing both his academic and performing interests while in his second semester at Tulane University. At Tulane, he is pursuing a double major in Music Performance in Voice and Legal Studies in Business. At Jesuit, Carlo frequently played major roles, including John Worthing in The Importance of Being Earnest and Jack in Into the Woods. His vocal training includes private lessons from Prof. Dreux Montegut and Prof. Amy Pfrimmer, along with a dance background from Kenny Beck of Myra Mier School of Ballet.

Amy Pfrimmer, Soprano

A teaching artist, Amy Pfrimmer is a Tulane University Associate Professor of Music where she holds the Lillian Gerson Watsky Professorship in Voice. She serves as voice area coordinator; director of Tulane Opera; concert vocal series director; and is founder of the Tulane Vocal Arts Festival. Pfrimmer is a past recipient of Tulane University’s Crest Award for Outstanding Faculty, and is frequently sought after for her high energy, interactive university/young artist program master classes, and as an adjudicator.

Amy Pfrimmer has sung across the US, Europe, and Canada in opera, concert, and recital, and was a 2019 Winner of the American Prize Chicago Oratorio Award. She has soloed with the London Symphony Orchestra, Germany’s Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz, Baltimore Choral Arts, Louisiana Philharmonic, United States Marine Corps and Navy Bands, and the Atlanta, Virginia, Santa Barbara, and Illinois Symphony Orchestras in concert repertoire ranging from Schönberg’s Pierrot Lunaire to Poulenc’s Gloria, Händel’s Messiah, and Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. In opera, Amy has sung with the Florida Grand Opera, Montréal Opera, Bulgarian State Opera Stara Zagora, New Orleans Opera, Mozart Festival Opera, Ohio Light Opera, Opera Birmingham, Mississippi Opera, and Shreveport Opera in such operatic roles as The Merry Widow, Violetta, Mimi and Musetta, Cio-Cio San, Nedda, Amahl’s Mother, and Rosalinda. Notably, she collaborated frequently with the late pianist/composer Dave Brubeck in his Mass, To Hope! A Celebration, and La Fiesta de la Posada. She also soloed across the US with conductor Keith Brion’s New Sousa Band.

With the MSR Classics label, Pfrimmer has released three recordings: Souvenance: Mélodies and Organ Works of César Franck with pianist/organist Thomas Kientz, Eternal Life: Sacred Songs and Spirituals and The Lost Romantic: Songs of Louise Reichardt, with pianist Dreux Montegut.

Kathryn Frady, Soprano

Kathryn Frady has been widely praised for her vocal range and dramatic talent. Kathryn continues to create dynamic and vivid characters, thrilling audiences and critics alike throughout the United States and Europe. Recent credits include roles with New Orleans Opera, Opera Carolina, Knoxville Opera, Cleveland Opera Theatre, Marble City Opera, Helena Symphony, Knoxville Symphony, Chattanooga Symphony, Diversita Opera Arts Company in Dallas, Opera in the City Festival, London, England, The Mediterranean Opera Festival, The Pierre Cardin Theatre in Paris, and National Opera Center in New York City. Upcoming performances include the title role in Tosca with Marble City Opera.

Kathryn’s performance in La traviata with Marble City Opera was named “Most Memorable Operatic Performance of 2017” by Arts Knoxville, which noted that Kathryn’s voice possessed “the silky subtlety and delicacy to contrast with the requisite power the role demands. Her performance was dramatically personal and intensely musically satisfying.” Of her most recent performance of Poulenc’s The Human Voice, Arts Knoxville noted “Frady’s brilliance as a soprano capable of riveting the audience’s attention – in vocal depth, in lyrical beauty, and in a marvelously conceived ebb and flow of posture and attitude – was as rewarding as it gets in theater.”

Dennis Jesse, Baritone

Dennis Jesse has performed in a variety of genres both nationally and internationally. Beginning on the musical theater stage, he moved to operetta and then a twenty-year career in grand opera. He frequents the stages of many of America’s opera houses. Last season he was scheduled to appear in productions with New Orleans Opera, Opéra Louisiane, Sinfonia da Camara and Pensacola Opera. On the concert stage, he appeared with Acadiana Symphony, Lawrence University, and with the Pensacola Choral Society, and, on the recital stage, he appeared at Stephen F. Austin State University and Young Harris College. Recently, he has been seen in productions with Central City Opera, Opera Ithaca and Opera Orlando. Mr. Jesse is an Associate Professor at LSU and he is the General and Artistic Director of a summer abroad program sponsored by LSU in Orvieto and Rome, Italy titled “Opera Festival di Roma.” For eleven years, he has served on the international faculty of La Musica Lirica, an intensive summer abroad program for young opera singers.

Categories
2020-2021 Opera News

Menotti’s The Medium

A Virtual Performance Filmed on Location at the H. Lloyd Hawkins, Jr. Scenic Studio.

A “Sensational Success” for Menotti! (Kobbé’s Opera Book)

Plot Snapshot: A not-so-real psychic has a surprise encounter with the ‘unknown’ leading to murder and mayhem!

This opera contains adult themes of violence, abuse, and murder.

A MESSAGE TO SPRING 2021 SUBSCRIBERS: Your link to view this video is secured with your subscription and will be emailed to you on April 15, 2021. If you are not sure how to view the movie, please email  info@neworleansopera.org and someone will call you!

Profound thanks to those that have contributed to our 2020-2021 Season. Click here for the listings.

Premieres on YouTube April 16, 2021 at 7:30 pm.

By arrangement with G. Schirmer, Inc., publisher and copyright owner.

Tickets – $40.00

$20.00 for Military, Teachers, and other Essential Workers (enter discount code: MEDIUM50)
$10.00 for Students (enter discount code: MEDIUM75)
Please consider making a donation at the time of your purchase in addition to the $40.00 ticket price. Your support is essential to realize our commitment to keep opera alive in New Orleans.
It is through your generosity that we will continue to create beautiful music together!
Ticket Information
  • Tickets are $40.00 per link.
  • Purchase your ticket online by clicking the button above or call the Box Office at (504) 529-3000 M-F, 9:00 am – 4:30 pm.
  • The video premieres on Friday, April 16, 2021 at 7:30 pm and will be available for purchase and to view until May 15, 2021 for On-Demand viewing.
  • The link to view will be emailed on Thursday, April 15, 2021 – if you purchase after the premiere date, the link will be available in your print at home ticket that comes to you with your purchase confirmation.

The Cast

Victoria Livengood

Madame Flora

Sarah Jane McMahon

Monica

Carlo Barrera

Toby

Amy Pfrimmer

Mrs. Gobineau

Kathryn Frady

Mrs. Nolan

Dennis Jesse

Mr. Gobineau

The Creative Team

James Marvel

Stage Director

Robert Lyall

Conductor

Keith Christopher

Technical Director

Nathan Arthur

Scenic Designer

S. Katy Tucker

Projection Designer

Mandi Wood

Lighting Designer

Sarah McCall

Production Manager

Julie Winn

Costumer

Emily Barber

Stage Manager

Olivia Winter

Properties Mistress

James Lanius

Projections Engineer

Jonathan Szymanski and Jesse Reeks

Rehearsal Pianist

India Mack

COVID Compliance Officer

Laurin Hart

Wig Assistant

Featuring The Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra

VIOLIN 1

Yaroslav Rudnytsky

VIOLIN 2

Byron Tauchi

VIOLA

Tyler Sieh

CELLO

David Rosen

BASS

David Anderson

FLUTE

Sarah Schettler

OBOE

Jane Gabka

CLARINET

Daniel Parrette

BASSOON

Benjamin Atherholt

HORN

Jamie Leff

TRUMPET

Vance Woolf

PERCUSSION

Dave Salay

KEYBOARD

Yui Asano

Jonathan Syzmanski

Filmed by Esplanade Studios
Misha Kachkachishvili, Audio Engineer
Jesse Snider, D/P Editor
Travis Marc, Videographer

IATSE Local #39 

President – Keith Christopher 

Business Manager – Alan Arthur 

Lighting Designer – Mandi Wood 

Head Carpenter – William Borne

IATSE Local #840 

Theatrical Wardrobe Union 

President – Shannon Muhleisen 

Secretary/Treasurer – Lesly Davi 

Business Agent – Bonnie Haase 

Wardrobe — Stephanie Kuhn  

H. Lloyd Hawkins Scenic Studio  

Technical Director – Keith Christopher  

Properties Mistress – Olivia Winter 

Carpenter – Keith Tujaque

Painter – Nathan Arthur 

Special thanks to Steven Bryant for the use of the wig worn by Victoria Livengood.


Menotti’s The Medium: A Perspective

By Robert Lyall, Artistic Director, New Orleans Opera

In spite of an impressive list of instrumental compositions—a symphony, a symphonic poem, two piano concerti, a violin concerto, a double-bass concerto, a Triple Concerto featuring three groups of three soloists, and a ballet, works written over a period of four decades, it is Gian Carlo Menotti’s operas that have endured. Not surprisingly, there are also very few symphonic or chamber works by Verdi and Puccini that have an established place in the world musical repertoire. For the Italianate musical mind, language–specifically drama–was the greatest stimulation for creativity. The same is said of the giovane scuola, (young school) of Italian opera composers who followed Verdi at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries. Virtually all of this “school” (Puccini, Mascagni, Leoncavallo, Cilea and several others) were based at the Milan Conservatory and adhered to the operatic style known as “verismo”—drama based in everyday reality. — READ MORE

This opera contains adult themes of violence, abuse, and murder.

An additional note about the language: To many, the word ‘Gypsy’, referring to Roma people who migrated from India centuries ago, is a pejorative. The New Orleans Opera did not eliminate or change the word from the original libretto written in 1946, and you will hear it in this recording. New Orleans Opera rejects all forms of racism and sexism and rather than remove it, we encourage conversation and inclusion.  

Categories
2020-2021 Opera News Opera On Tap

Opera on Tap – In Our Yard

It’s back! Join us in April and May as we debut the new stage at the Guild Home with two new Opera on Tap – In Our Yard concerts.

Both concerts on April 10, 2021 and the 5:00 pm concert on May 15, 2021 are SOLD OUT!

Tickets:

  • $30 for a pod of 3 people.
  • Priority seating for people donating at least $25 per event at the time of purchase.
  • On sale to the General Public: March 15, 2021.
  • Pre-sale for 20-21 Subscribers: March 12, 2021. All current Subscribers are encouraged to call the Box Office for tickets beginning March 12, 2021.

Details:

  • Performances will take place on the lawn of the Guild Home, 2504 Prytania Street, NOLA 70130.
  • Concerts begin at 3:00 pm & 5:00 pm. 5:00 pm Sold Out
  • Face Masks Required (additional safety rules are outlined below.)
  • Tickets are $30 for a pod of up to 3 people.
  • Those donating an additional $25 per event or more will be given priority seating on a first come first served basis.
  • Sections are assigned in the order tickets are purchased.
  • Bring a blanket or chairs (up to 3 chairs per section). No food or beverages will be available, so please BYOB.

Shakespeare – In Our Yard!

April 10, 2021

The play’s the thing, and the Bard is the best when it comes to opera and musical theater plots! This concert features music from Cole Porter’s Kiss Me, Kate (based on The Taming of the Shrew), Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Verdi’s Falstaff, Thomas’ Hamlet, and Rodgers and Hart’s The Boys from Syracuse (based on The Comedy of Errors). Plus three musical settings of Romeo and Juliet – the famous opera by Gounod, I Capuleti ed i Montecchi by Bellini, and Bernstein’s magnificent West Side Story.

Singers Rachel Looney, Nicole Heinen, Zara Zemmels, Kameron Lopreore and Spencer Reichman are accompanied by Carol Rausch.

Travel the World – In Our Yard!

May 15, 2021

Even if your vacation plans are virtual, let us help with musical suggestions from around the globe! If you’re thinking about a classic trip to Europe, we’ve got selections from Italy, Spain, Germany and France. Something slightly more exotic? We’ll take you to Russia and the Balkans. Maybe a Caribbean cruise is more your style? Enjoy an excerpt from the West Indies. If you’re staying in the States, we’ve got music from Charleston, New England, the Big Apple and of course the Big Easy!

Singers Haley Whitney, Mary Cloud, Isabella Vanderhoof, Kameron Lopreore, Mark-Anthony Thomas, Frank Convit and Spencer Reichman, with pianist Carol Rausch.


Safety Guidelines

We look forward to welcoming you at our upcoming performance!

The health and safety of our guests, performers, and staff are our top priority. While there is an inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 in any public spaces where people are present, we hope that the following guidelines will help everyone safely enjoy the performance.

  • Per City and State mandates, face masks will be required for all guests and staff throughout the performance.
  • A trained COVID officer will be on site at all times. All guests and staff will have a contactless temperature screening upon arrival. Anyone with a fever of 100.4 or higher will not be permitted to enter the venue.
  • Hand sanitizer will be available upon entry and throughout the venue.
  • While there will be no sale of food or beverages on site, we invite our guests to bring their own drink of choice to enjoy.
  • Restrooms will be available during the performance. We encourage guests, however, to use the restroom before they arrive to prevent large groups from gathering in the restroom area.
  • Please respect social distancing guidelines throughout the performance. Signage, ground markings, and staff will help guests maintain at least a 6-foot distance from each other.
  • Anyone who is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 (cough, chills, fever, sore throat, muscle pain, shortness of breath, or loss of sense of smell or taste) should stay home and contact their healthcare provider.

Any guests who are unable to adhere to the above guidelines will be asked to leave the performance. We thank you in advance for your cooperation!

In the case of a possible COVID-19 exposure at the performance, the ticket purchaser will serve as the main contact for their party.

Categories
Adult Education News

Masterclass Monday

Masterclass Monday

New Orleans Opera and Loyola University have a long and rich relationship, with a history of many partnerships, including Masterclasses. We are proud to collaborate again this year in the virtual environment, and we are excited that we can invite you to join us.

Masterclasses play a very important role in the development of a young singer. According to Fred Plotkin, “Masterclasses are one of the most fascinating aspects of the process of taking talented but inexperienced young singers and trying to polish and mold them while allowing them to retain what makes them special.”

New Orleans Opera is grateful to those participating in this Masterclass Series for allowing us a glimpse into the special journey of an opera singer. Mark your calendars to join us – free of charge!


Nancy Maultsby – March 15, 2021 (NEW DATE!)

  • 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm CST
  • Sponsored by Loyola University

Students

  • Emily Acuña, soprano – senior
  • Julia Ernst, mezzo-soprano – freshman
  • Samantha Resser, mezzo-soprano – graduate student
  • Allison Waguespack, soprano – senior

About Nancy Maultsby:

Last seen at the New Orleans Opera in the Verdi Requiem in 2010. American mezzo-soprano Nancy Maultsby is in demand by opera companies and orchestras throughout the world.  Her unique vocal timbre and insightful musicianship allow her to pursue a repertoire extending from the operas of Monteverdi and Handel to recent works by John Adams. She regularly performs the major heroines of nineteenth-century French, Italian, and German opera and the great symphonic masterpieces.

Read more about Nancy on her website here.

Nancy Maultsby, photo credit: Dario Acosta

Alfred Walker – April 26, 2021

  • 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm CST
  • Sponsored by New Orleans Opera

About Alfred Walker:

New Orleans native Alfred Walker is a graduate of Dillard University, Loyola University, and the Metropolitan Opera Lindemann Young Artist Program. He is also the recipient of awards from the George London Foundation, Palm Beach Opera Competition, Houston Opera Studio’s Eleanor McCollum Competition, and the Sullivan Foundation career grant.

Mr. Walker was lauded by Opera News for his “inky bass-baritone and clear projection that seemed ideally suited to the role, capturing this isolated man’s passion with telling grief,” for his performance as Crown in the Metropolitan Opera’s production of Porgy and Bess.

Read more about Alfred on his website here.

Alfred Walker
View upcoming Loyola Music Events Here.

Previous Masterclasses

JANE EAGLEN – December 14, 2020

  • 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm CST
  • Sponsored by Loyola University
Students:

Antonio Domino, tenor
Julianna Espinosa, soprano
Julia Tuneberg, soprano
Jeremiah Tyson, tenor

About Jane Eaglen:

Jane Eaglen has enjoyed one of the most formidable reputations in opera for the past two decades. Her performances of roles such as Isolde in Tristan und Isolde, the title roles in Puccini’s Turandot, Bellini’s Norma, and Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos, and Brünnhilde in Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen have earned her acclaim on stages of the leading opera houses of the world, including the Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Teatro alla Scala, Vienna State Opera, and l’Opéra National de Paris.

Read more about Jane on her website here.

Jane Eaglen, photo courtesy of New England Conservatory

GREER GRIMSLEY – December 7, 2020

  • 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm CST
  • Sponsored by the New Orleans Opera
Students:

Samuel Ater, bass-baritone
Nora Cullinan, soprano
Veronica Samiec, soprano
Alysa Foster, soprano
Garrin Mesa, baritone

About Greer Grimsley:

Greer Grimsley is internationally recognized as an outstanding singing actor and one of the most prominent Wagnerian singers of our day. Continuing his reign as a leading interpreter of the god Wotan, he sang the eminent role once again in the Spring of 2019 for the Metropolitan Opera’s Der Ring des Nibelungen in the reprisal of Robert Lepage’s landmark production from 2013. New Orleans is lucky to have Greer and his family call the city home!

Read more about Greer on his website here.

Courtesy of Loyola University from a previous Masterclass, Carol Rausch, Kameron Lopreore, and Greer Grimsley

Categories
2020-2021 Opera News

The OPERACADE

Opera on Wheels Coming Soon!

When we got the phone call from Opera on Tap Headquarters asking to partner with their newest creation, the answer was a resounding “Yes!”

The pandemic has shuttered so many outlets that we all took for granted. World-wide, the performing arts community has experienced significant economic setbacks from Covid-19 and the effects are profound. But creativity is at the core of our industry and the innovation during the shutdown has been inspiring.

We are so happy to introduce The OPERACADE to New Orleans. Inspired by the Zoltar machine at Coney Island, it is designed to pay tribute to our many opera and classical music artists who are currently and for the foreseeable future unable to perform inside for live audiences. The OPERACADE also creates a unique public performance venue and mobile public art installation that is sure to put a smile on the faces of everyone that crosses its path.

A Partnership Between Opera on Tap and New Orleans Opera

The OPERACADE, created and designed by Opera on Tap HQ is being built here in New Orleans at the H. Lloyd Hawkins Scenic Studio. The prototype is complete with more coming soon!

To read more about the project visit the Opera on Tap website here and then stay tuned! There is more on the horizon for The OPERACADE.

The Team

Todd Perlmutter, Co-creator

Ramona Ponce, Co-creator

Anne Hiattt, Co-creator

Keith Christopher, Technical Director

Nathan Arthur, Scenic Painter

Video featuring tenor Casey Candebat

Video by Dylan Trần

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2020-2021 Opera News

La Traviata at The Broadside

New Orleans Opera and The Broadside Theater present:

La Traviata, A Franco Zeffirelli Film

Join us at the Broadside for Verdi’s La Traviata and a pre-movie concert at featuring New Orleans Opera singers. The concert starts at 7:00 pm followed by the movie at 7:30 pm.

The Broadside is the sister business of The Broad Theater and is located at 600 N. Broad St., New Orleans, LA 70119. It’s an open air venue with a full bar, hot dogs and popcorn! They are following all Covid-19 safety rules (masks required). The seats are paired and safely distanced.

  • Tickets: $30.00/person
  • Concert: 7:00 pm
  • Movie: 7:30 pm

ABOUT THE CONCERT

Featured Singers:
Nicole Heinen, soprano
Michael Anthony Rodriguez, tenor
Kristin Scioneaux, piano

ABOUT THE MOVIE

La Traviata is a 1982 Italian film written, designed, and directed by Franco Zeffirelli. It is based on the opera La traviata with music by Giuseppe Verdi and libretto by Francesco Maria Piave. The film premiered in Italy in 1982 and opened in theatres in the U.S. on April 22, 1983.

The score is conducted by James Levine, featuring the Metropolitan Opera orchestra and chorus. The film was eventually nominated for a pair of Oscars (Art Direction and Costume Design) and it arguably remains the finest film version of an opera ever made. 

Running time: 105 minutes

Principal Cast
Violetta Valery Teresa Stratas
Alfredo Germont Plácido Domingo
Giorgio Germont Cornell MacNeil
Baron Douphol Allan Monk
Annina Pina Cei
Flora Axelle Gall
Gastone Bervoix Maurizio Barbacini 
Conductor James Levine

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Blog News

New Orleans Opera Blog

In spite of an impressive list of instrumental compositions—a symphony, a symphonic poem, two piano concerti, a violin concerto, a double-bass concerto, a Triple Concerto featuring three groups of three soloists, and a ballet, works written over a period of four decades, it is Gian Carlo Menotti’s operas that have endured. Not surprisingly, there are also very few symphonic or chamber works by Verdi and Puccini that have an established place in the world musical repertoire. For the Italianate musical mind, language–specifically drama–was the greatest stimulation for creativity. The same is said of the giovane scuola, (young school) of Italian opera composers who followed Verdi at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries. Virtually all of this “school” (Puccini, Mascagni, Leoncavallo, Cilea and several others) were based at the Milan Conservatory and adhered to the operatic style known as “verismo”—drama based in everyday reality.

Menotti’s The Medium: A Perspective

By Robert Lyall, New Orleans Opera Artistic Director

Menotti (1911-2007) was born in Italy and initiated his musical studies at the Milan Conservatory at age 12, but a few years later Menotti’s mother chose to move to America to revitalize their family’s failing coffee business. At the recommendation of Arturo Toscanini, she enrolled her then 17-year old son in Philadelphia’s Curtis Institute of Music. There he joined future American luminaries like Leonard Bernstein and Samuel Barber. Menotti, like Richard Wagner, wrote the texts for all of his 28 operas. Only 3 early works Amelia Goes to the Ball, The Island God (withdrawn) and The Last Savage were written in Italian. All others were written in English and he frequently referred to himself as an “American composer.”

Menotti’s early celebrity was heightened by the evolution of television, radio, and film in the United States. Television emerged as an experiment in a General Electric factory in Schenectady, New York in 1928. Later in 1928, G.E. opened a second facility in New York City, today known as WNBC. The rapid development of television in America following the end of World War II in 1945 and the coincidence of the fine arts being a part of early television and radio programming hugely increased public awareness of early Menotti works. This was especially true after he was commissioned by Columbia University to write an opera The Medium that might be broadcast through these newly-influential outlets of art and entertainment. Media-savvy Menotti’s Columbia University premiere in May 1946 was followed by a Broadway premiere in May 1947 and a live television production in December 1948 on the celebrated NBC drama series Studio One. Even Australian television filmed it in 1960. These early media successes established Menotti as an international celebrity and helped launch American opera on a new and exciting course.

Menotti has the distinction of being the first composer commissioned to write an opera for radio The Old Maid and the Thief which premiered in April 1939, as well as the first to be commissioned to write an opera for television Amahl and the Night Visitors, which premiered on Christmas eve in 1951. He also founded the celebrated arts “Festival of Two Worlds” (Festival Due Monde) based both in Italy (1958) and Charleston, South Carolina (1977).  With prestigious premieres in the world’s great opera houses and awards throughout his lifetime– for example, Pulitzer Prizes for two of his Broadway operas, The Consul (1950) and The Saint of Bleecker Street (1954)—Menotti also achieved this singular distinction: since its premiere on Christmas eve of 1951, Menotti’s Christmas ‘miracle,’ Amahl and the Night Visitors has reached a wider audience than any other work in operatic history.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that The Medium, Menotti’s 1946 hour-long melodrama, was inspired by a séance that he had attended. Thus, he gives us a very detailed portrayal of the real experience, that of couples and individuals desperate to connect with deceased relatives, especially their young children. As the audience, we are invited to experience the ritual of conjuring that is so very real to these individuals. From the point of view of “dramatic irony,” early in the opera we are made very aware that this is all a fraud on the part of Madame Flora. But it is fascinating to see the emotional depths to which individuals in a séance pursue the fantasy of actually communicating with deceased loved ones. During the course of her séance, Madame Flora herself has a bizarre encounter with the supernatural that completely shocks her and alters her prophecies and truthfulness in this fascinating psycho-drama with its interesting twists and turns.

From the New Orleans Opera’s 2007 production of The Medium in partnership with Music@Madewood.

 In 1951, Menotti composed and directed a musically expanded version of The Medium with the filmmaker, Alexander Hammid, that resembles “film noir,” a theatrical and film style of the 40s and 50s having roots in German Expressionistic cinematography and theater. Interestingly, classic “film noir” were often referred to as “melodramas,” a term we strongly associate with opera and musical theater. Film noir characters generally represented the cynical attitudes and sensual motivations derived from “crime fiction”—a distinct theatrical style that emerged from the Great Depression. As it was once excellently described, it is “a black and white visual palette creating a “chiaroscuro” of varying shades of gray.”

The musical language of The Medium clearly reflects its Italian origins with stylistic elements closely related to Puccini ‘s grand melodic rhetoric. But, Menotti’s most immediate connection to any emerging “American operatic idiom” was developed through his work with Samuel Barber for whom he wrote two libretti (Vanessa and A Hand of Bridge) as well as revising Barber’s Anthony and Cleopatra for its 1966 Metropolitan Opera premiere.

In spite of his frequent earlier comments about being an “American composer,” in his last years Gian Carlo Menotti simply said, “I’ve always been an Italian composer.”

Marie Laveau (1801-1881)

A fun parallel with The Medium’s Madame Flora is New Orleans’ very own Madame Flora: a Medium, Soothsayer, Conjurer, Fortune-Teller, and to many, a Voodoo Princess with supernatural powers able to communicate with dark forces beyond the world of the living.

Our local conjurer’s powers included healing the sick, overseeing spiritual rites, and practicing an array of ways to communicate with the occult. But, Marie Laveau achieved huge celebrity during her lifetime and enjoyed the passionate support of thousands of New Orleans followers who truly believed in her supernatural powers. Even well after her death she was an object of veneration and pilgrimages to her tomb (Plot 347 in St. Louis Cemetery #1) were frequent, colorful, and included a ritual practiced until very recent times. If you wanted Marie Laveau to grant your wish, you must draw an X on her tomb, turn around three times, knock on the tomb and yell out your wish. If it was granted, you must come back to the tomb, circle your X, and leave Marie Laveau a gift.

Categories
2020-2021 Opera Event News Opera at Home

The Orpheum Sessions – A Night at the Opera

In Partnership with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra

Opera Favorites!

A virtual concert featuring French and Italian operatic masterpieces, including selections from Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro, Rossini’s The Barber of Seville, Puccini’s Madame Butterfly, and Bizet’s The Pearl Fishers.

Profound thanks to those that have contributed to our 2020-2021 Season. Click here for the listings.

Premieres Friday, April 9, 2021 at 7:00 pm

Tickets: $15.00

A Message to Subscribers: 

Your link to view this concert is secured with your subscription and will be emailed to you on April 9, 2021 from the LPO. If you do not receive the link, please check your spam folder. The performance is hosted on Vimeo, but you do not need a Vimeo account to watch the performance. Click here for digital access help from the LPO.

Featuring

Jasmine Habersham

Soprano

Betsy Uschkrat

Soprano

Casey Candebat

Tenor

Dennis Jesse

Baritone

Thomas Wilkins

Conductor

Concert Preview: