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LaVergne Monette, soprano

New Orleans Opera is very proud to present a new interview with soprano LaVergne Monette, the winner of the Lifetime Achievement in Classical Arts Award from the Gambit affiliated, Big Easy Awards. The interview is conducted by Founder and Artistic Director of the award-winning OperaCréole, New Orleans Opera artist and Advisory Board Member, Givonna Joseph, and directed by Dylan Trần.

Ms. LaVergne Monette is a native of New Orleans who has broken racial barriers in opera and has given honor to our city through her international success as an operatic and classical artist and educator.

Givonna Joseph interviews LaVergne Monette, Directed by Dylan Trần

Biographies

LaVergne Monette, soprano

Ms. LaVergne Monette was the 1960 winner of the National Metropolitan Opera Auditions. She also made history by becoming  the first person of color to sing a role with New Orleans Opera. This groundbreaking 1968 production of Carmen included Ms. Monette as Mercedes next to Ruth Falcon as Frasquita. It was staged by Arthur Cosenza and conducted by Knud Anderson. LaVergne Monette would later sing Mercedes, Micaëla, and many other roles, including Mimi in La Boheme at New York City Opera and beyond.

The New York Times said that Ms. Monette possessed “a beautiful voice with tremendous power and warmth”, and the Herald Tribune said this of her performance in the Metropolitan Opera’s concert at Lewisohn Stadium: “LaVergne Monette, a promising newcomer discovered after winning the Met auditions, breezed through the score with her exceptionally fine voice. Only a reprise tumultuously urged and willingly granted brought the evening and highly invigorating season to an end.”

Her parents, Adolph and Flora Mel Monette, made sure she had music in her life from an early age, and brought her to study voice with Nelson Francis privately, which led to her working with him while a student at Xavier University Preparatory High School.

Ms. Monette graduated from Xavier University of Louisiana’s groundbreaking opera program created by Sr. Elise Sisson, SBS,  with whom she studied voice, and sang the title role of Aida (to Nelson Francis’ Radames) and other roles in their historic productions. The great basso of New Orleans heritage, Norman Treigle, came to Xavier to stage their production of Le Nozze di Figaro with Ms. Monette as Countess Almaviva.  She and Norman Treigle would go on to perform together often. 

After attending a summer program at Chatham College in Pittsburgh, PA, Robert Lawrence recommended her to the great diva, renowned soprano Rosa Ponselle, who took her under her wing as a protégée (Ms. Ponselle was herself a protégée of the great Italian tenor Enrico Caruso).

During her time in New York, she would also study with Bert Knapp and perform at New York City Opera with Norman Treigle, Beverly Sills, and Plácido Domingo. Ms. Monette, sponsored by the Metropolitan Opera and Columbia Artists International, distinguished herself by representing the United States as a featured solo artist in a  orchestral and recital tour of Finland and on audition tours of Austria, Germany and Switzerland. 

In addition to roles with the Met and New York City Opera, she sang with Baltimore Opera, Virginia Opera, and Saratoga Opera in Florida. She even sang a role in the 1966 New York City Opera production of The Consul staged by Gian Carlo Menotti himself.

In 1987, she had the honor of being chosen as a soloist for the Papal Mass celebrated at the University of New Orleans during St. Pope John Paul II’s visit.  She also appeared in recitals in the UNICEF Pavillion of the Louisiana World’s Fair in 1984. Ms. Monette was also a featured soloist in recitals at New York’s Town Hall and Carnegie Hall.

Throughout her career, LaVergne Monette has divided her talents between performances and nurturing young artists by teaching voice, performance, acting and world languages all over the U.S.  She taught privately in New York, at Illinois State University, Indiana University at Bloomington, and at Xavier University and Delgado Community College in New Orleans, Louisiana. She also gave back to the community through her work with elementary school children at St. Rita’s Catholic School in New Orleans.

Ms. Monette has also been a champion of New Orleans Creole culture. In 2000, she was featured on Sybil Kein’s CDs Creole Classique Music for a New Orleans Soirée. This CD brought the music of 19th Century New Orleans free composers of color to life, and she was a soloist in Dr. Kein’s CD Songs of Romance.

In retirement, Ms Monette continues to use her beautiful voice singing in Carol Dolliole’s choir at St Augustine Church in Faubourg Tremé, at St. Anthony of Padua with Larry Lydon, organist and member of the New Orleans Opera Chorus, and  at other churches throughout New Orleans. In 2017 she received the “Lift Every Voice” Legacy Award from the National Opera Association. She currently resides in New Orleans and is thankful to God for all her blessings.

Givonna Joseph, OperaCréole 

As Founder and Artistic Director of the award-winning OperaCréole, Ms. Joseph’s research on operatic composers of African descent has been featured in The New YorkerSouthern Living magazine, and on NPR. She was previously honored as a standard bearer of Louisiana culture on Le Grand Tour, a documentary for French TV, and Music Inside Out with Gwen Thompkins.

Her company received The Gambit affiliated Classical Arts Awards in 2018, and 2019. In 2020, The Coalition for African Americans in the Performing Arts (CAAPA) of Washington, D.C. honored them.

Since 2011, the international soloist, along with her daughter, OperaCréole co-founder Aria Mason, has successfully mounted lost operas by composers of color such as Samuel Coleridge Taylor’s Thelma, and Lucien Lambert’s La Flamenca.

In 2018 they created an original opera  The Lions of Reconstruction: From Black Codes to the Ballot Box in honor of New Orleans’ tricentennial.

Ms. Joseph teaches private voice, and specializes in Arts Integration using the science of music, and Creole culture.

She previously served as Education Director for the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, and as a singer, the mezzo-soprano has sung featured roles in many New Orleans Opera productions, and serves on their Advisory Board. She has also performed with Houston Grand Opera, and sang a leading role in Wading Home, which told the story of Hurricane Katrina.

Categories
News

WWNO Interview – The Guild Home Concert

Thank you to WWNO and Diane Mack for this interview with General Director, Clare Burovac and for sharing our news about the 20-21 Season Opening concert!

Click below to listen.

Categories
Program Book

Program Book

The Opera Guild Home Concert with Bryan Hymel and Irini Kyriakidou

January 15, 2021 – 7:30 PM

This production is generously underwritten with support from Drs. Ranney and Emel Songu Mize.

Nothing gives us greater pleasure than to sing in our hometown for our New Orleans community! We want to thank New Orleans Opera and Maestro Lyall for this incredible opportunity. We chose this repertoire with much care and love, hoping that it will bring a musical comfort to everyone during these challenging times.

Stay safe and optimistic, Bryan and Irini
Musical Selections

“Il est doux, il est bon”

from Massenet’s Hérodiade 

“Adieu donc, vains objets”

from Massenet’s Hérodiade 

Act One duet

from Puccini’s Tosca 

“Vissi d’arte”

from Puccini’s Tosca 

“E lucevan le stelle”

from Puccini’s Tosca 

“Senza mamma”

from Puccini’s Suor Angelica 

“È la solita storia del pastore” (Lamento di Federico)

from Cilea’s L’arlesiana 

“Mon coeur s’ouvre à ta voix”

from Saint-Saëns’s Samson et Dalila 

Act Five, Tomb Scene

from Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette  

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Thank You!

Thank You!

We wish to thank the following individuals who have contributed to a special Four Operas Campaign organized by Mr. Edward F. Martin. It is because of his leadership and the contributions of these donors that we are able to present our 2020-21 season. 

Mr.* and Mrs. Herschel Abbott

Mr. Peter R. Brigandi Jr.

Mr. Mark Caldwell

Mr. and Mrs. A.J. Capritto

Mr. Vance Ceaser

Ms. Kathy Christian

Mr. Donald Clement

Mr. Arthur A. Crais Jr.

Dr. and Mrs. Charles L. Dupin

Mr. Tim Fields

Prof. Robert Force

Mr. Emmet Geary Jr.

Jay Gulotta and Susan Talley

Pauline and Allain Hardin

Ms. Adrea D. Heebe

Mr. and Mrs. Scott Howard

Mr. and Mrs. Erik F. Johnsen

Mr. and Mrs. V. Price LeBlanc Jr.

Mr. Dwayne O. Littauer

Mr. Edward F. Martin

Mr. Jonathan McCall

Drs. Emel Songu and Ranney Mize

Mrs. Louise H. Moffett

Ms. Sonya Moore

Ms. Ann Owens

Mr. Vernon Palmer

Mr. J. Robert Pope*

Nina and Lawrence Pugh

Mr. Robert Redfearn

Prof. Cynthia A. Samuel

Ron Scalise and Sally Richardson

Karen and Leopold Sher

Jane and William Sizeler

Mr. and Mrs. Harry Charles Stahel

Eleanor and Philip Straub

Mr. Howard Thompson

Mrs. Catherine Burns Tremaine

The Honorable Janis van Meerveld

Drs. Rand and Terry Voorhies

Mr. and Mrs. James Willeford

Jerry W. Zachary* and Henry Bernstein

*deceased


Thank you to everyone who has donated during the 2020-21 Opera Season. New Orleans Opera gratefully acknowledges the following individuals and family foundations for their generous support. This list represents donations that were made from November 1, 2019 through the time of this program’s publication.

2020-2021 Board of Directors

Mr. Dwayne O. Littauer, President
Ms. Sonya Moore, Vice-President
Mr. Emmet Geary, Treasurer
Ms. Penny Baumer, Development Officer
Mr. Edward F. Martin, Secretary
Immediate Past President Mr. James C. Gulotta, Jr.

Mrs. Penny Baumer
Dr. Nicolas Bazan
Mrs. Adelaide Wisdom Benjamin
Mr. Dorian Bennett
Mr. Peter Brigandi
Mrs. Betty Brooks
Mr. Joseph Bruno
Ms. Luretta Bybee
Mr. Vance Ceaser
Mr. A. J. Capritto
Mrs. Mary Chapman Albert
Mrs. Serafina Charbonnet
Mr. Arthur Crais
Dr. Patrick J. Dowling
Mrs. Diane S. Dupin
Mr. Emmet Geary Jr.
Mr. James C. Gulotta Jr.
Ms. Pauline Hardin
Ms. Adrea Heebe
Mrs. Rania Khodr
Mrs. Christine LeBlanc
Mr. Dwayne Littauer
Mr. Edward F. Martin
Mr. Jonathan C. McCall
Dr. R. Ranney Mize
Ms. Sonya Moore
Ms. Ann Owens
Mr. James Robert Pope
Prof. Cynthia Samuel
Mr. Leopold Z. Sher
Mr. I. William Sizeler
Mr. Alfred E. Stacey IV
Mrs. Harry C. (Claire) Stahel
Mr. Philip Straub
Ms. Catherine Burns Tremaine
Dr. Rand Voorhies
Mr. James F. Willeford
Ms. Debby Hirsch Wood
Mr. Joseph Young

EX-OFFICIO
Mrs. Sonda Stacey
President, Women’s Guild

Ms. Amanda Credeur
Mr. Michael Roussel
Ms. Bianca Spears
Ms. Sarah Stickney-Murphy
Co-Chairs, Sylvain Society

Advisory Board

Mr. Dale C. Biggers
Mrs. Virgene Biggers
Mrs. Margie Breeden
Ms. Elizabeth “Liz” Glaser Broekman
Ms. Michelle Butler
Dr. Mark Caldwell
Mrs. Eileen Capritto
Mr. Edgar Chase
Mrs. Kathy Christian
Hon. Jacquelyn B. Clarkson
Mrs. Loretta Corbett
Ms. Joan Coulter
Dr. R.W. Culver
Mrs. Thomas S. Davidson
Mrs. Monique R. Gougisha Doucette
Mrs. Betsy Dowling
Mr. Brooke Duncan
Dr. Charles L. Dupin
Ms. Marlene Duronslet
Mr. Elroy W. Eckhardt
Mr. Tim Fields
Mrs. Donna Fraiche
Mrs. Melissa Mason Gordon
Ms. Amanda Green
Mr. Douglas Grundmeyer
Mr. Timothy Hemphill
Mr. Neuville Hotstream
Hon. Bernette J. Johnson
Ms. Givonna Joseph
Ms. Rose LeBreton
Ms. Lisa Leone
Mr. Frank Maselli
Mrs. Gail McKenna
Dr. Jane Cagan Miller
Mrs. Cindi Mistrot
Mr. Brian Monk
Mrs. Pat Murrell
Mr. Ernest L. O’Bannon
Dr. Andrew Orestano
Mr. Mark Otts
Prof. Amy Pfrimmer
Ms. Ashley Pradel
Dr. Alan E. Sheen
Mrs. Sonda Stacey
Ms. Rebecca Thomson
Dr. Peter M. Tufton
Dr. Aysen Young

Institutional Underwriters

Thank you

New Orleans Opera Association thanks our business, foundation and government partners for their recent support!

New Orleans Opera works with each business and community partner to create a sponsorship package that suits your company’s particular needs. Whether you seek opportunities to entertain your clients, corporate visibility at performances, marketing partnerships, or all of the above, New Orleans Opera can assist you. Your sponsorship supports the Opera while providing exclusive benefits and visibility for your company.

$100,000+

Lois and Lloyd Hawkins Jr. Foundation

Louisiana Economic Development

New Orleans Opera Endowment Fund

$50,000+

The Theresa Bittenbring Marque & John Henry Marque Fund

Opera America Innovation Grant

Edward F. and Louise B. Martin Family Fund

Erik F. Johnsen Family Foundation

$20,000+

Lois and Lloyd Hawkins Jr. Grand Opera Foundation

Freeport McMoRan Foundation Arts Fund

Louisiana State Arts Council/Louisiana Division of the Arts

The Selley Foundation Fund

$10,000+

Bloomberg Philanthropies

City of New Orleans/ACNO

Entergy Charitable Foundation

Greater New Orleans Foundation

V. Price LeBlanc Jr. Fund

Lexus of New Orleans

McCall Fund

Louise H. Moffett Family Foundation

Priddy Family Foundation

Wisdom-Benjamin Foundation

$5,000+

An Anonymous Foundation in support of Opera on Tap-New Orleans

Carol B. and Kenneth J. Boudreaux Foundation

Ruth U. Fertel Foundation

Peoples Health

The Reily Companies

WWOZ

$1,000+

Community Works of Louisiana

Goldring Family Foundation

Jewish Endowment Foundation of Louisiana

Landis Construction Co., LLC

New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival and Foundation

Renaissance Publishing

Sarracenia Foundation

Van der Linden Family Foundation

Woldenberg Foundation

WWNO

We gratefully acknowledge matching and in-kind(*) gifts from the following institutions:

Booth Bricker Fund

ExxonMobil Foundation

Freeport McMoRan Copper and Gold Foundation

Martin Wine Cellar*

New Orleans Museum of Art*

Shell Oil Company Foundation

Stephanie Varns, CPA

Windsor Court Hotel*

Commemorative Gifts

In Loving Memory of:

Susan C. Wisdom

            Mr. Norton Wisdom

Mrs. Philip Breitmeyer

            Mrs. Lanier Hosford

            Mrs. Collette Newman

            New Orleans Lawn Tennis Club

Deirdre P. Long

Dr. William Long

Dr. Charles Rodney Smith

            Spencer, Karen, and Avery Spicker

            Dr. Edward Levy Jr.

            Hon. and Mrs. Steven R. Plotkin

Evelyn LeJeune

            Katherine Roane        

Daniel J. Carroll Jr.

            Ms. Evelyn Arduini

            Mr. John Downer

            Mr. Andrew Doran

Suzanne Motion

            Benjamin Motion

Ralph L. Caskell Jr.

            Mrs. Rosemarie Kaskell

Mary Freet

            Sara Attaya

Louise Daspit Geary

            Dwayne O. Littauer

Lois Gandolfi

            Ms. Sharon Keating

George Fee

Mrs. Alma Dunlap

Irene Klinger

            Mr. Jim Eddy

J. Robert Pope

            Mrs. Carolyn McIntyre

            Emmet Geary Jr.

            Mrs. Barbara Kroeze

            Mrs. Patricia Blair

John Harold and Olympia Eaglin Boucree

            Dr. Michael Boucree 

In Honor of:

Ted Martin

Mr. Howard Thompson

Sonda Stacey

            Ms. Elizabeth Liu

Ted and Sonda Stacey

            Patricia Manning Sharpe

Dr. Valerie Francis

            Dr. Raquel Cortina

Mrs. John Dunlap Jr.

            Alma & Bob Pettit

Mr. and Mrs. Louis Freeman

            Alma & Bob Pettit

Mrs. Susan Peters

            Alma & Bob Pettit

Mrs. Robert A. Schimek

            Alma & Bob Pettit

Mrs. Guy Wootan

            Alma & Bob Pettit

Mr. and Mrs. James Bean

Alma & Bob Pettit

Joanna Sternberg

            Mary Ann Sternberg

            Joan Oppenheim

Janet Wilson

            Robert Lyall

Robert Lyall

Mr. and Mrs. Edward F. LeBreton III

Clare Burovac

            Dr. and Mrs. George J. Dechet

            Drs. Fernando and Delores Leon

            Mr. Norman Krasne

            Ms. Marilyn Crilley

            Mr. Robert Fischer

            Mr. Jeffrey Thede

            George and Lee Anne Carter

            Ms. Karen Early

            Mr. Matthew Baines

Clare Burovac and Chris Mattaliano

            Mr. and Mrs. Robert Burovac

Mastersigners

($50,000+)

Mr. Edward F. Martin

Mr. and Mrs. Erik F. Johnsen

Drs. Emel Songu & Ranney Mize

Platinum Circle ($25,000+)

Mr. Arthur A. Crais Jr.

Jay Gulotta and Susan Talley

Mr. J. Robert Pope*

Gold Circle ($10,000+) The Maestro Circle

Mrs. Adelaide Wisdom Benjamin

Drs. Nicolas & Haydee Bazan

Mrs. Betty T. Brooks

The Estate of Guillermo Nanez-Falcon

Mr. Emmet Geary Jr.

Meredith Hathorn & Rawley M. Penick III

Ms. Adrea D. Heebe

Mr. and Mrs. V. Price LeBlanc Jr.

Mr. Dwayne O. Littauer

Dr. William Long

Mr. Jonathan McCall

Mrs. Louise H. Moffett

Priddy Family Foundation

Prof. Cynthia A. Samuel

Karen and Leopold Sher

Mrs. Catherine Burns Tremaine

Drs. Rand & Terry Voorhies

Mr. and Mrs. James Willeford

Mr. Joseph Young Jr. & Dr. Aysen Young

Jerry W. Zachary* & Henry Bernstein

Sustaining ($7,500+)

Carole B. & Kenneth J. Boudreaux

Mr. Peter R. Brigandi Jr.

Mr. Vance Ceaser

Mr. Tim L. Fields

Professor Robert Force

Pauline & Allain Hardin

Mr. Donald I. Levy

Ms. Ann Owens

($5,000+)

Anonymous

Mr.* and Mrs. Herschel Abbott

Doug and Mary Albert

Ms. Penny Baumer

Mr. & Mrs. A. J. Capritto

Ms. Jo-Ann Ciolino Adams

Dr. & Mrs. Patrick J. Dowling

Dr. & Mrs. Charles L. Dupin

Fran Fetzer & LeRoy Harvey

Rania and Hicham Khodr

Ms. Sonya Moore

Jane & William Sizeler

Mr. and Mrs. Alfred E. Stacey IV

Mr. and Mrs. Harry Charles Stahel

Eleanor & Philip Straub

Special acknowledgement to Mr. Joseph Young Jr. for founding the Mastersigners in 1981.

Individual Donors

$2000+

Anonymous

Mr. and Mrs. Dale C. Biggers

Drs. Andrea and Archie Brown

Dr. Marc Caldwell

Robin and Gary Chapman

Prof. Ellen Frohnmeyer

John G. Turner & Jerry G. Fischer

Mr. and Mrs. James C. Landis

Mr. and Mrs. Charles B. Mayer

Hon. Janis van Meerveld

Ron Scalise and Sally Richardson

Mr. and Mrs. Howard E. Sinor Jr.

Mary Ann Sternberg

Mr. and Mrs. Bernard van der Linden


$1000+

Anonymous (2)

Dr. and Mrs. Robert M. Arensman

Dr. Jane Cagan and Mr. Bruce Miller

Ms. Marilyn Crilley

Dr. and Mrs. George J. Dechet

Col. Bruce Elliott

Mr. and Mrs. Robert Fischer

Joan Hooper and Julian Feibelman Jr.

Mr. and Mrs. Louis Freeman

Mr. and Mrs. Scott P. Howard

Dr. Bernard M. Jaffe

Dr. and Mrs. Klaus Kallman

Dr. Nina Kelly

Mr. and Mrs. Donald P. Mitchell

Ms. Cynthia Molyneux

Mr. Max Nathan Jr.

Dr. and Mrs. Robert L. Pettit Jr.

Dr. Carolyn Clawson Prickett

Mr. Robert Redfearn

Mr. and Mrs. John C. Scharfenberg

Mr. Jeffrey Thede

Mr. Howard Thompson

Mrs. Katherine Vaughan


$500+

Ms. Evelyn Arduini

Sara P. Attaya

Mr. and Mrs. Harry Barkerding

Mr. N. Buckner Barkley Jr.

Dr. Michael Boucree

Mrs. Margie Breeden

George and Lee Anne Carter

Kathy M. Christian

Mr. Donald M. Clement

Ms. Karen Early

Dr. Maria J. Falco

Dr. and Mrs. Juan Gershanik

Melissa and Bruce Gordon

Hon. Kyle M. Green Jr.

Seth Harris and Julie Schwam Harris

Mr. and Mrs. Timothy Hemphill

Mrs. Rosemarie Kaskell

Rose M. & Edward F. LeBreton III

Mr. Keith Marshall and Mrs. Millie Ball

Ms. Regina O. Matthews

Mr. Benjamin Motion

Ms. Julie Pfeffer

Ms. Sally E. Richardson

Ms. Katherine L. Roane

Dr. and Mrs. James W. Robinson

Mr. Anthony M. Rotolo

Ms. Beth Lee Terry

Olivier and Ghislaine Thelin

Dr. and Mrs. Peter M. Tufton

Yvonne M. Vonderhaar

Raymond and Lisa Washington

Dr. and Mrs. Robert G. Weilbaecher

Mrs. Claire Whitehurst


$250

Dr. and Mrs. Robert M. Arensman

Ms. Paula Armbruster

Ann and Charles Babington

Tony Bentley

Ms. Cherry Bordelon

Mr. and Mrs. Robert Burovac

Ms. Georgia M. Bryant

Dr. and Mrs. Thomas Canale

Mr. R. Levich and Mr. C. Chase

Kathy and Frederick Christian

Loretta and Guy Corbett

Mrs. Joan Coulter

Lorraine and Chuck Cucchiara

Ms. Jill B. Fatzer

Joan and Henry J. Folse

Mr. John Ford

Dr. Mary Frances Gardner

Ms. Joanna Giorlando

Ms. Sharon Hayes

Ms. Deborah Henton

Mr. Arthur M. Kastler

Ms. Catherine Kidd

Ms. Patricia Krebs

Drs. Fernando and Delores Leon

Dr. and Mrs. Jon W. Lowry

Mr. and Mrs. Charles L. Malachias

Michael L. Mancuso

Ms. Lynne Marsh

Karen and Frank Milanese

Mr. Malcolm Mounger

Mr. William and Dr. C. Murray

Mr. John Olinde

Mr. and Mrs. Mark G. Otts

Dr. and Mrs. John T. Patterson

Gerald and Patricia Price

Ms. Carol Rausch

Mr. Anthony Rotolo

Ms. Sally S. Scheuermann

Mr. and Mrs. Robert D. Sloan

Mrs. Mihoko Strong

Mr. and Mrs. Eric Wedig

Ms. Andrea J. Wilkes

Mr. Norton Wisdom


$150+

Mr. Randall Brown

Mr. Anthony Currera

Ms. Brittani Corbisiero

Dianne and Joseph Caverly

Dr. Raquel Cortina

Mr. Andrew Doran

Mr. John Downer

Ms. Patricia Dunbar Murrell

Ms. Camille Durkin

John and Virginia Eckholdt

Mr. & Mrs. Edward D. Edmiston

Drs. Kenneth C. & Melanie Ehrlich

Ms. Jody Fhal

Dr. Erin O’Sullivan-Fleming

Ms. Sarah Fuhrer

Ms. Louise Hobson

Mr. and Mrs. Brian Horowitz

Mr. and Mrs. Robert E. Leake Jr.

Mr. Christian Lilje

Ms. Elizabeth Liu

Michael L. Mancuso

Carol and Stanley Marx

Mr. and Mrs. James McCarty

Mr. James O’Rourke

Mr. Troy Poplous

Kay Radlauer

Mr. and Mrs. Elliott Raisen

Ms. Lilian Samardzija

Dr. Janet L. Schmid

Mr. Stanley Schwam


$75+

Mr. and Mrs. Allain C. Andry III

Alison and John Ariail

Mr. Matthew Baines

Mr. John Baron

Mr. and Mrs. David L. Bergeron

Ms. Anne Bradburn

Ms. Linda B. Brassett

Bishop and Mrs. James B. Brown

Clare Burovac

Mark Klyza and Suzanne Butler

Ms. Susan Canavello

Dr. Robert J. Cangelosi

Dr. and Mrs. Michael Carey

Mr. Calvin A. Cognevich

Mr. Michael Colbruno

Ms. Judith Cooper

Dana Criswell Cruthirds

Ms. Cheryl Cummiskey

Mr. Chris Daigle

Ms. Crystal Domreis

Ms. Judith Doughty

Mr. Ronald Durnford

Mr. Wendell Eatherly

Mrs. Bernard J. Eckholdt Jr.

Mr. Jim Eddy

Ms. Deborah Fagan

Sybil M. and D. Blair Favrot

Betsy Fischer Martin

Dr. and Mrs. J. M. Fortino

Mr. J. Louis Gibbens

Mrs. Charles Goodyear

Ms. Amanda Green

Fr. Mitchell Guidry

Mr. Charles Hadley

Shirley Henderson

Elaine T. Hymel

Ms. Lila Hogan

Ms. Sonia Kenwood

Mr. Edwin King

Dr. Thomas F. Kramer

Mr. Norman Krasne

Mrs. Barbara Kroeze

Jacquelyn Lothschuetz

Mrs. Carolyn McIntyre

Lynne Neitzschman

Mr. Kenneth Newburger

Eric and Erlinda Nye

Dr. and Mrs. Henry D. H. Olinde

Mrs. Joan Oppenheim

Dr. and Mrs. Vernon Palmer

Ms. Margaret Parker

Janice Piazza

Mr. A. Ravi P. Rau

Mr. George Sanchez Sr.

Ms. Helen L. Schneidau

Drs. John and Sylvia Schneller

Meg and Terry Sims

Dr. Kristi Soileau

Ms. Angela Speyrer

Spencer, Karen, and Avery Spicker

Dr. Nia K. Terezakis

Mr. and Mrs. Joe Toups

Ms. Gwendolyn Vagis

Mr. Richard Velkley

Hon. Miriam and Mr. Bruce Waltzer

Mrs. Dorothy Weisler

James Wesner

Ms. Kathleen Williams

Ms. Janet Wilson

Harold Young

*deceased

To add your name to the roster of supporters, call Director of Development Joanna Sternberg at (504) 267-9526, visit neworleansopera.org, or send your check to the New Orleans Opera Association: P.O. Box 52108; New Orleans, LA  70152; Attn: Development Office. Many companies will match employee and retiree gifts – ask your employer for a matching form to submit with your check. Contributions to New Orleans Opera Association are tax deductible as allowable by law (Tax ID number 72-0272897). We are grateful for each contribution and we make every effort to ensure the accuracy of these listings as of the printing deadline. To make a correction to your listing for future printings or if you believe you were omitted from the donor list, please call (504) 267-9526.

Categories
Program Notes

Program Notes

Settings of Each Aria

In order as presented in concert

Our concert opens with “Il est doux, il est bon” from Act I of Hérodiade, composed in 1881 by Jules Massenet (1842–1912) and based on French author Gustave Flaubert’s version of the Biblical tale. The opera itself is far less gruesome than the more familiar Salome of Richard Strauss, based on the Oscar Wilde play! The year is 30 A.D., and the setting is the courtyard of the royal palace in Jerusalem. Phanuel, chief advisor to King Hérode, has just quieted an altercation when Salomé enters. Abandoned as a child, she has searched endlessly for her birth mother, who is actually Queen Hérodiade. Salomé’s only consolation has been Jean (John the Baptist), now Hérode’s prisoner. In the aria she expresses not only her admiration, but also a sensual passion for the prophet.

“Adieu donc, vains objets” is from Act IV of Hérodiade. The aria takes place in the underground dungeon where Jean awaits execution – Hérode’s sentence for the supposed crime of pretending to be the Messiah. As he prepares for death, Jean says goodbye to all earthly things and has no regrets about his life; yet he is still tortured by thoughts of Salomé. He commends himself into the hands of God, praying to be released from her spell.

Tosca, the fifth opera by Giacomo Puccini (1858-1924), premiered in Rome in 1900. The melodramatic three-act work is set in The Eternal City a hundred years earlier, when Italy was threatened by Napoleon’s invasions. Sparks fly in the Act I chapel duet as Floria Tosca, an opera singer, examines a new painting by her lover Mario Cavaradossi, an artist and revolutionary. The woman in his portrait resembles the blonde, blue-eyed Marchesa Attavanti, and the jealous dark-eyed diva becomes furious! Mario calms her with the words, “Qual’occhio al mondo” – “What eyes in the world” (could compare with the beautiful eyes of Tosca?). Tosca departs after their ecstatic duet, but she asks that the eyes in the portrait be darkened.

Act II of Tosca features one of the most famous of all soprano arias – “Vissi d’arte.” Tosca, who has lived for the ideals of art and love, adhering to her faith and desire to help all living creatures, is trapped. She must give in to the carnal desires of Scarpia, the cruel and licentious Chief of Police so that she can save her beloved Mario. She asks God why he has repaid her this way in her hour of need. It is noteworthy that almost all of the verbs in “Vissi d’arte” are in passato remoto (remote past), signifying Tosca’s feeling of utter detachment from her nemesis. Although she agrees to sacrifice herself, at the end of the act Tosca stabs Scarpia, who expires while choking on his own blood!

“E lucevan le stelle” from Act III of Tosca, is certainly among the most beautiful and renowned arias in the tenor repertoire. Cavaradossi is alone in his jail cell as the stars wane and the faint light of dawn is seen in the sky. With only one hour to live, he recalls his passionate nocturnal meetings with Tosca and their now hopeless dream of love. At the end of the aria, Cavaradossi cries out, “I die in desperation! And never before have I loved life so much!”

“Senza mamma” from Suor Angelica is our final offering from the Puccini repertoire. The opera itself is the second of a trio of one-act operas from 1918, collectively known as Il trittico (The Triptych). The setting is a convent in Italy, during the latter part of the 17th century. Angelica dishonored her aristocratic family by bearing a child out of wedlock and was forced to become a nun as punishment. In the scene just before the aria, Angelica’s aunt, a cruel princess, demanded that her niece should waive her share of the inheritance to pay for the wedding of her younger sister. She also coldly revealed that Angelica’s young son had died of fever two years earlier. Overcome by grief that the boy both lived and died “without a mother,” Angelica longs for her own death so that she may join him in heaven. She asks for the stars to twinkle as a sign from the child.

“È la solita storia del pastore” (Lamento di Federico) is from Act II of L’arlesiana, composed in 1897 by Francesco Cilea (1866-1950). The opera is rarely produced, and this poignant aria remains the most widely recognized excerpt. Federico loves a young woman of questionable reputation from Arles, whom his family considers unworthy. They have arranged for him instead to marry Vivetta, a childhood sweetheart. Federico has even been shown, and now painfully rereads, Arlesiana’s letters, which prove that she has another lover. The aria initially harkens back to the shepherd’s legend which opens the opera, but gradually explodes into a full-blown verismo outcry of despair and betrayal.

“Mon cœur s’ouvre à ta voix” is the Act II show-stopping aria from the 1877 opera Samson et Dalila, by Camille Saint-Saëns (1835-1921). The libretto is based on the Old Testament story from the Book of Judges. The opening line can be literally translated as “My heart opens itself to your voice” but the lush music is a seduction conceived for political gain. Dalila has been sent by the Philistines to discover the secret to Samson’s power – his flowing locks, through which God grants him strength in battle. Unable to resist Dalila, Samson declares his love for her.

Our final selection is the Act V tomb scene from Roméo et Juliette by Charles Gounod (1818-1893). Gounod is renowned for his 1859 setting of Faust, but his 1867 adaptation of Shakespeare’s famous play is full of gorgeous melodic passages, including four duets for the title characters. In this final duet, Roméo arrives at the Capulets’ crypt. Discovering Juliette’s body, he believes her to be dead and drinks poison. At that moment she awakens, and the lovers share a final vision of a future together, with the use of musical themes from earlier in the opera. As Roméo grows weaker, Juliette takes a dagger from his belt and stabs herself. The lovers die praying for God’s forgiveness.

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Program Notes

Artists and Staff

The Opera Guild Home Concert with Bryan Hymel and Irini Kyriakidou

Thanks to all involved!

Tenor Bryan Hymel,  a new Orleans native, is a graduate of Loyola University New Orleans and the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia. Bryan is the winner of the 2013 Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in Opera. The New York Times praised his “unflagging stamina and impetuous abandon” during his 2012 Metropolitan Opera debut as Énée in Les Troyens, for which he was presented with the Metropolitan Opera’s Beverly Sills Artist Award. Bryan’s recent seasons have brought debuts and return engagements at the world’s most prestigious opera houses and festivals. A favorite of audiences at London’s Royal Opera House, Hymel made his Covent Garden debut in 2010 as Don José in Carmen and has since returned for performances in Rusalka, Les Troyens, Robert le diable , Les vêpres siciliennes and Don Carlo. He has also sung the roles of Turiddu in Cavalleria rusticana and Canio in I pagliacci. Hymel made his widely anticipated debut in 2015 at the Opéra National de Paris with performances of La Damnation de Faust, and returned for performances of La traviata and Carmen. He made his Teatro alla Scala debut as Don José in 2010, later reprising the role with the Canadian Opera Company, Vienna Staatsoper, Washington National Opera, and the Bayerische Staatsoper. He recently sang for the Bastille Day concert in front of the Eiffel Tower with Maestro Valery Gergiev and has enjoyed success at summer festivals such as the Salzburg Festival, Santa Fe Opera, Aspen Music Festival and School, Les Chorégies d’Orange in France, and the Festival Castell de Peralada in Spain. Bryan is an exclusive recording artist for Warner Classics.

Greek soprano Irini Kyriakidou continues to showcase her “sweet and virtuosic vocal talents” (The Observer) with opera companies and symphony orchestras throughout the United States and Europe. Ms. Kyriakidou studied at the Maria Callas Conservatory of Athens under Marina Krilovici and is the winner of the second prize in the “Maria Callas Grand Prix” in Athens,  first prize in the European Competition “Debut 2004” and the “Pro Europa” prize of the European Culture Foundation. Her musical studies include degrees in Harmony, Counterpoint and Fugue from the National Conservatory of Greece. Ms. Kyriakidou was seen as Lauretta in Gianni Schicchi, as Musetta in La boheme and as Zerlina in Don Giovanni with the Greek National Opera. She went on to reprise the role of Zerlina in her debut at Venice’s Teatro La Fenice in 2010, and returned there for additional performances in the 2011/12 season. The role of Zerlina also brought her debut at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden in 2012. Under the baton of Maestro Riccardo Muti, she performed Cherinto in Demfoonte in her debuts with the Opéra national de Paris and the Ravenna Festival. A graduate of the International Opera Studio at Opernhaus Zürich, she performed Pamina for the IOS production of Die Zauberflöte. Other roles include Sophie in Der Rosenkavalier with the Tel Aviv Opera, Xenia in Boris Godunov with Théâtre du Capitole in Toulouse, and Micaela in Carmen with New Orleans Opera and Opera Las Palmas. She has also sung at the Royal Opera House Muscat in Oman, at Smetana Hall in Prague and at the Theatre des Champs Elysées in Paris. Since 2017, she has been the Artistic Director of “Opus Opera,” (www.opusopera.org) a non-profit organization she created with her husband, Bryan Hymel, for which she creates and performs in various concerts throughout the season. Opus Opera’s mission is to “bring opera closer” with intimate performances in non-traditional venues that immerse the senses in art of every kind! Since January 2019 she has been teaching voice at Loyola University of New Orleans.

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 for study with celebrated Russian maestro, Kyril Kondrashin, as well as garnering support from the Fulbright and Woodrow Wilson Fellowship Foundations leading to graduate studies for a Ph.D. degree. In the course of Lyall’s career he has served as General and Artistic Director of six organizations: the Victoria Symphony Orchestra; the Oak Ridge Symphony; the Knoxville Opera Company; the Mississippi Opera; Michigan’s Opera Grand Rapids; and the New Orleans Opera, with which he is completing his 23rd season (1998-2021). His international guest conducting performances stretched through Russia, Italy, Spain, Mexico, The Netherlands, and Carnegie Hall, 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.”

American conductor and pianist Michael Borowitz is currently in his twelfth year as Associate Professor and Music Director of the Turner-Fischer Center for Opera at LSU, where this season he conducted performances of Poulenc’s Dialogues des Carmélites, Handel’s Giulio Cesare, and Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi.  In his role as Artistic Director with Opéra Louisiane, he will conduct performances of Offenbach’s Les contes d’Hoffmann.  His recordings on the Albany label include Offenbach’s Bluebeard, Kern’s Cabaret Girl, Herbert’s Mlle. Modiste (also released on DVD by Operetta Archives), and Gilbert & Sullivan’s Ruddigore and Patience.  He was Artistic Director of Nevada Opera for nine years and Music Director for Ohio Light Opera for five.  He has been guest conductor for Asheville Lyric Opera, Baltimore Concert Opera, Opera Delaware, Des Moines Metro Opera, Pensacola Opera, AVA Ballet, Opera Southwest, and Opera Columbus, as well as assistant conductor with The Metropolitan Opera, Indianapolis Opera, and Cleveland Opera.

Musicians of the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra:

Kurt Munstedt, violin

Byron Tauchi, violin

Bruce Owen, viola

Kent Jensen, cello

David Anderson, bass

Visit www.lpomusic.com to learn more about the LPO!

Staff of the New Orleans Opera
Clare Burovac, General Director
Robert Lyall, Artistic Director
Gina Klein, Director of Operations
Keith Christopher, Technical Director
Joanna Sternberg, Director of Development
Sarah McCall, Director of Production
Carol Rausch, Chorus Master/Music Administrator
Janet Wilson, Director of Public Relations & Marketing
Devin Johnson, Patron Services Manager
Jenny Chapman, Support Group Liaison
Dylan Trần, Marketing Coordinator
Emily Barber, COVID Officer

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

For more information about the New Orleans Opera Women’s Guild, please contact supportgroupliaision@neworleansopera.org
Singers for the New Orleans Opera are represented by the American Guild of Musical Artists.
All protocols for the making of this film were in full compliance with the City of New Orleans guidelines and regulations.

Categories
Program Notes

Opera Guild Home

Special thanks to the following Guild Members for their participation in the making of this virtual concert.

Featuring docents from the New Orleans Opera Women’s Guild 

Sonda Stacey, President 

Stephanie Sheridan, Docent Chair 

In order of appearance: 

Elizabeth Viener 

Erin O’Sullivan Fleming, M.D.

Graziella de Ayerdi 

Karen Milanese 

Melissa Gordon 


During the concert you will see a section dedicated to the statue on the front lawn of the Guild Home. A miniature special limited-edition version of this statue will be available for sale very soon. If you would like to receive information on the artist and sale of this keepsake, please sign up here:


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Welcome

Welcome!

Welcome from the President

Dwayne O. Littauer

Welcome to the 2020-21 season of the New Orleans Opera Association. In spite of our delayed start, we are excited to present for your entertainment a wonderful selection of musical experiences. You are in for a treat with this wonderful concert that was filmed at the Opera Guild Home and performed by husband and wife, Bryan Hymel and Irini Kyriakidou, with Michael Borowitz at the piano, and Artistic Director Robert Lyall conducting members of the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra. We will be collaborating with the Louisiana Philharmonic in providing another virtual Concert, Orpheum Sessions:  A Night at the Opera. Next, we will present a live outdoor production of Gian Carlo Menotti’s well-loved chamber opera The Medium.  Finally, we will present a live outdoor concert version of the ever popular American classic, The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess.

Your financial support of the New Orleans Opera during this difficult period is more important than ever to sustain opera in our great city and enable us to continue presenting operatic productions of the highest artistic quality this year and in seasons to come.

Thank you for sharing our excitement for brilliant musical theater.

Dwayne O. Littauer, New Orleans Opera Board President


Welcome from the General Director

Clare Burovac

Dear Friends, 

As the New Orleans Opera enters its 78th season, we have a lot to celebrate:  as America’s First City of Opera, we’ve nurtured the art form through decades, providing opportunities for hundreds of thousands of New Orleanians to be swept away by glorious performances. In recent years, we’ve expanded beyond the Mahalia Jackson Theatre for the performing arts into additional performance venues and expanded our repertoire with exciting debut performances of opera old and new. And we’ve made a commitment to our communities with educational residencies and access to our programming for all opera lovers in the city. 

This is a season like no other; we’ve been forced to cancel the planned programming and tap into our artistic creativity like never before. Due to COVID-19 restrictions on indoor performances, we moved all of our performances outside, including concerts at the Women’s Opera Guild Home of the New Orleans Opera, live and recorded performances at the Broadside Theatre, and Driveway Concerts at subscriber homes.   

Although we are sorry to see the cancellation of our originally planned operas, we’re very excited about the programming that we have to share with you in 2021. We start off the year with a recital featuring world-renowned opera stars Bryan Hymel and Irini Kyriakidou, with Opera Louisiane’s Artistic Director Michael Borowitz at the piano and a string quintet from the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, all conducted by Artistic Director Robert Lyall. We’re delighted to share this unique recital film featuring the amazing talents of Louisiana musicians performing in the historic Guild Home. In addition to glorious operatic music, docents from the Women’s Guild share the home’s history and some of the treasures contained within it. It’s an evening of operatic treats that we’re sure you’ll enjoy, and we look forward to sharing it with you. 

Thank you for being part of the New Orleans Opera family, particularly during this challenging time. We are truly grateful for you.

Clare Burovac, New Orleans Opera General Director

Categories
News

Bryan Hymel and Irini Kyriakidou

New Orleans Opera is proud to present The Opera Guild Home Concert with Bryan Hymel and Irini Kyriakidou.

This production is generously underwritten with support from Drs. Ranney and Emel Songu Mize.

The concert is now on-demand!

To access your link after purchasing, click Download Tickets on your email confirmation. It may take several minutes to arrive in your in-box. Note to our current 2020-2021 Subscribers: You already have a link reserved for this concert! Call the Box Office if you did not receive your link. (504) 529-3000

World renowned opera stars Bryan Hymel and Irini Kyriakidou programmed this concert of their favorite operatic arias and duets to share with audiences around the world.  Led by Maestro Robert Lyall, and featuring pianist Michael Borowitz and a string quintet from the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, this performance takes place in the uniquely beautiful Guild Home of the New Orleans Opera.  The performance includes selections from Tosca, Romeo and Juliet, and Samson and Delilah, among others.  Join us for an evening of great music, including an exclusive tour of the historic Opera Guild Home and its treasures.

Artists

Robert Lyall, conductor

Irini Kyriakidou, soprano

Bryan Hymel, tenor

Michael Borowitz, piano 

Musicians of the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra:

Kurt Munstedt, violin

Byron Tauchi, violin

Bruce Owen, viola

Kent Jensen, cello

David Anderson, bass

Featuring docents from the New Orleans Opera Women’s Guild 

Sonda Stacey, President 

Stephanie Sheridan, Docent Chair 

In order of appearance: 

Elizabeth Viener 

Erin O’Sullivan Fleming, M.D.

Graziella de Ayerdi 

Karen Milanese 

Melissa Gordon 

Ticket information

Please consider making a donation at the time of your purchase in addition to the $20 ticket price to equal the seating level you would have chosen at The Mahalia Jackson Theater for the Performing Arts. For your reference, the pricing levels at the theater are listed below. You 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.

Thank you for considering this extra gift as this challenging time.

  • Tickets are $20 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 concert premieres on January 15, 2021 at 7:30 PM and will be available for purchase and to view until February 15, 2021.
  • The link to view will be mailed on Friday, January 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.

A message to subscribers: Your link to view this concert is secured with your subscription and will be emailed to you on January 15, 2021. If you are not sure how to view the concert, please email info@neworleansopera.org and someone will call you!

How to watch this program

This recorded production will be available online via YouTube. Please make sure you are able to access this platform before making your purchase. If you cannot watch on January 15, the link you will receive will be active for one month and you may view it at any time during that period. Tickets will be available to purchase until February 15, 2021.

Single Ticket Concert Pricing Levels for Your Donation Reference.

Price Level and Ticket Amount
  • Price Level 1 – $110
  • Price Level 2 – $80
  • Price Level 3 & 4 – $75
  • Price Level 5 – $55
  • Price Level 6 – $37
  • Price Level 7 – $25
Donation
  • $90
  • $60
  • $55
  • $35
  • $17
  • $5

A Sneak Peek

Staff of the New Orleans Opera
Clare Burovac, General Director
Robert Lyall, Artistic Director
Gina Klein, Director of Operations
Keith Christopher, Technical Director
Joanna Sternberg, Director of Development
Sarah McCall, Director of Production
Carol Rausch, Chorus Master/Music Administrator
Janet Wilson, Director of Public Relations & Marketing
Devin Johnson, Patron Services Manager
Jenny Chapman, Support Group Liaison
Dylan Trần, Marketing Coordinator
Emily Barber, COVID Officer

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

For more information about the New Orleans Opera Women’s Guild, please contact supportgroupliaision@neworleansopera.org
Singers for the New Orleans Opera are represented by the American Guild of Musical Artists.
All protocols for the making of this film were in full compliance with the City of New Orleans guidelines and regulations.

Copyright New Orleans Opera, 2021
Categories
Thank You!

Thank you to our 20-21 Early Bird Season Subscribers!

In this time of uncertainty, there are many things that remain unknown. But here’s what I know for sure: without you, the New Orleans Opera would be in peril. Your quick actions to renew your opera subscription and to show your support for our efforts to sustain our beloved company during this pandemic are, simply put, inspiring.

Clare Burovac, General Director

Ms. Jo-Ann C. Adams

Dr. and Mrs. Kenneth N. Adatto

Doug and Mary Albert

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Elizabeth & James Landis

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