2020 Education Virtual Education

Scenic Songs: Off the Stage

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Scenic Songs: Off the Stage


Study Guide

This study guide packet will serve three purposes:

  1. It will PROVIDE all kinds of interesting information about each larger work (opera, operetta or musical), including plot and character descriptions.
  2. It will EXPLAIN our unique re-telling of the story line within each scene.
  3. It will give CONTEXT regarding the historical period of each work, and your students will also have an opportunity to learn about the composers!

Created by:

William Mouat and Taylor Ott, Project Artistic Director and Executive Editor.


Hayden Guthrie, Amanda McCarthy, Taylor Ott, Rachel Looney, Imani Sarai Francis, Mark Anthony Thomas, and Frank Convit. Click the Study Guide button above for artist bios, full program outline, and more!


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Adult Education Education News Opera at Home


ALLONS: Adventurous Lectures for Lovers of Opera Now Streaming!

A New Adult Education Series – 7 pm on Zoom.
Dates, Topics, and Lecturers listed below. NEW DATES COMING SOON!

Individual Lectures

$12 – Click Here

October 22, 2020 – Parlez-moi d’amour: Love at First Sight in Romantic French Opera:

The first lecture in the series features guest presenter Amy Pfrimmer, voice faculty member and director of opera at Tulane University. Amy was, in fact, recently seen in the role of Juno in the NOOA Opéra Comique, Orpheus in the Underworld by Jacques Offenbach.From Georges Bizet’s Carmen to Jules Massenet’s Manon and Samson and Delilah by Camille Saint-Saëns, Professor Pfrimmer will focus on the Femmes Fatales of this golden age of French opera.

Tuesday, November 17, 2020 – Mozart Operas and the Enlightenment:

Dr. William Mouat discusses W.A. Mozart and his last, great operas. From the 1786 Le Nozze di Figaro, which strikes at the very heart of the dreadful Droit du seigneur tradition, to the 1787 Don Giovanni, which sends a warning to all rakes and miscreants, to the 1790 Così fan tutte, which explores young love, we will unpack the famous Italian Trio. As a pièce de résistance, we will examine Mozart’s final operatic comedy and Singspiel, the 1791 Die Zauberflöte, translated into English as The Magic Flute.

November 5, 2020 – Origins and Evolution of the Rescue Opera:

From Ludwig van Beethoven’s Fidelio to Carl Maria von Weber’s Der Freischütz toRichard Wagner’s Der Fliegende Holländer, guest presenter, conductor, and collaborative pianist Michael Borowitz will discuss the various historic, social and artistic reasons that rescue operas came into being. Michael Borowitz is Associate Professor of Opera at LSU, and he works with New Orleans Opera on a regular basis. A seasoned and nationally renowned conductor, coach and pianist, Michael is also the artistic and musical director of Opera Louisiane, our Capitol City’s opera organization.

November 12, 2020 – When and where is it appropriate and effective to update an opera “classic”?

This topic asks a question that is frequently faced by modern opera companies, especially in the wake of a fluctuating world economy, and the paucity of donors and sponsors in the arts. By the time a great deal of money is spent on orchestras, singers, costumes and artistic direction, budgets are often strained and company managers must make the decision to update certain productions. Here, Dr. Sakinah Davis, Chair of Vocal Studies and Director of Opera at Xavier University will tell us the best ways to do this, and she’ll cite her personal experience with this topic of discussion.

November 19, 2020 – Cultural Appropriation in Madama Butterfly and Porgy and Bess:

This is a subject that is applicable to our contemporary world as we delve into Giacomo Puccini and George Gershwin’s masterpieces. Dr. Valerie Francis, Associate Professor of Voice at Nicholls State Uniiversity – having performed the roles of Cio Cio San as well as Bess – is uniquely qualified to relate her revelations and discoveries about these roles, and the performance history and traditions of these operas.

Adult Education Education News Opéra Nouvelle

Opéra Nouvelle: Mozart and The Garden

Join us in the Sculpture Garden at the New Orleans Museum of Art

November 8, 2020 at 2:00 pm


New Orleans Opera and New Orleans Museum of Art are thrilled to continue our three-year collaborative partnership with the Opéra Nouvelle series. This year’s theme is “Mozart and the Garden.” The first half of this one-hour event is a fantastical journey through Mozart’s greatest hits – Le Nozze di Figaro, Don Giovanni, Così fan tutte, Die Zauberflöte and, perfectly suiting the occasion, La finta giardiniera (set in a garden, about a noblewoman in disguise). During the second half, we will feature a plethora of fun-filled English songs and arias with a surprise finale from a noteworthy composer who is living in New Orleans!

  • Tickets to the concert are FREE, courtesy of New Orleans Opera, and include admission to NOMA’s Besthoff Sculpture Garden after the performance, courtesy of NOMA. See below for details on how to get your free ticket.
  • Indoor museum cost at NOMA as follows: Members are free, $15.00 adults, $10.00 seniors (65+) & active military with ID, $8.00 university students with ID and Free admission for visitors age 19 and younger courtesy of the Helis Foundation.

Opéra Nouvelle: Mozart and The Garden is directed by Dr. William Mouat, Director of Education at New Orleans Opera, and it features NOOA resident and emerging artists Rachel Looney, Zara Zemmels, Amanda McCarthy, Sakinah Davis, Valerie Francis, Mark Anthony Thomas, Frank Convit, Ivan Griffin, Dylan Trần, and Jesse Reeks.

Ticket Information

  • All of NOMA’s in-person events require prior registration due to crowd control and the Special Event Permit from the City of New Orleans.
  • Seating capacity is 100 and crowd gathering outside of the space is not permitted.

There is no rain date scheduled, if the weather forecast is not in our favor we will post cancellation here and on our social media outlets.

Donald W. Wood, Sr. Vocal Competition Education News

And the Winners are…


Lauren Albano, Senior, New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, New Orleans, Louisiana, Instructor: Phyllis Treigle


Markus Monistere, Sophomore, New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, New Orleans, Louisiana, Instructor: Phyllis Treigle


Catherine Mercatante, Senior, Cabrini High School, New Orleans, Louisiana, Instructor: Elizabeth Argus


Henry Herbert, Junior, New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, New Orleans, Louisiana, Instructor: Phyllis Treigle


Brooklyn Burt, Junior, New Orleans for Creative Arts, New Orleans, Louisiana, Instructor: Phyllis Treigle


Daniel Porea, Jr., Senior, Lusher Charter School, New Orleans, Louisiana, Instructor: Ivan Griffin

Donald W. Wood, Sr. Vocal Competition Education News

Congratulations to the Wood Advancement Grant recipients!

Imani was the Second place female winner of the Donald W. Wood, Sr. Vocal Competition (2015-2016). She was also the 2019 Fall/Winter recipient of the Wood Operatic Advancement Grant.

Lindsey received honorable mention at the Donald W. Wood, Sr. Vocal Competition (2015-2016) and was also the recipient of the 2020 Spring/Summer Wood Operatic Grant.

Imani Sarai Francis, B. M. , Boston Conservatory at Berklee School of Music.

Imani is a proud 2020 graduate of Boston Conservatory at Berklee School of Music. Recently Imani was accepted to the Louisiana State University Graduate School of Music where she will pursue a Master of Music degree in Vocal Performance. Her plans include studying under the very capable tutelage of Dr. Loraine Sims. Imani requests financial assistance for this upcoming school year of 2020-2021 and is very grateful to the Wood Foundation through the New Orleans Opera Association for their continuous support of her career goals and aspirations. Imani graciously writes: “This organization is truly God sent and I have been blessed by your genuine concern and generosity for me and other aspiring young artists.”

Lindsey Reynolds, a graduate student pursuing a Masters of Music degree at the Curtis Institute of Music.

Lindsey is studying under the tutelage of Julia Falkner at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She also holds a Bachelor of Music from the Curtis Institute of Music. She is a versatile young artist and her favorite roles include Zerlina Don Giovanni, Adina L’elisir d’amore, Giulietta I Capuleti e i Montecchi, Miss Wordsworth Albert Herring, and Monica The Medium. She is the recipient of many awards and accolades, including first place in the Camille Coloratura Awards: Student Division, James Toland Vocal Arts Competition: Tier 2, Junior Division of the Young Patronesses of the Opera/Florida Grand Opera National Voice Competition, Hal Leonard Vocal Competition, and the National Association of Negro Musicians Vocal Competition.

Last summer, Ms. Reynolds was a Gerdine Young Artist at Opera Theatre Saint Louis where she was to premiere the role of Lily in Awakenings written by Tobias Picker and Aryeh Lev Stollman (Canceled due to Covid-19). This October, Lindsey is very excited to be a featured artist in Lawrence Brownlee with Friends presented by Opera Philadelphia. It is her desire to have the funds to purchase equipment needed to accommodate performing and recording in this new COVID-19 world inside her one-bedroom apartment in Philadelphia and to purchase a camera, to rent professional space to make recordings, and to hire an accompanist. She needs this equipment to create the strongest videos possible for online auditions and competitions. All Young Artist Auditions are taking place online this fall, as are competitions. The Curtis Institute of Music, the Conservatory in which she is studying online as a first-year student in their Master’s Program, is not open to students or staff. No one can access their buildings. Such a strange new world in which we are residing. Lindsey confidently writes: “I hope to come out of this a stronger singer and performer!”

Congratulations to Imani and Lindsey!

Donations to the Wood Operatic Advancement Grant help finance and cultivate young vocal talent like Imani and Lindsey, please contact Gina Klein at the New Orleans Opera Office at (504) 267-9527 or write

Education News

Donald W. Wood, Sr. Vocal Competition is going VIRTUAL


All submissions will be judged with winners announced on Saturday, October 24, 2020 at 10:00 a.m.
Presented by the New Orleans Opera Association in collaboration with Loyola University New Orleans, Tulane University and the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts.

How to participate in the Virtual 2020 Wood Competition:

  • Download and read the Guidelines and Application instructions below.
  • The Application is a fillable PDF and once you download and complete it, click the Submit button at the bottom of the form.
  • If you are unable to complete the submission process as outlined below, please print out the application, fill out out, scan it and email it to Debby Wood at woodcompetition@
  • Please note, the deadline to participate is midnight, September 8, 2020.



Click here to download a free version of Adobe Acrobat Reader.

About the Competition

The Wood Competition is in its sixth 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 for 2020 is midnight September 8, 2020. 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 guidelines and competition application above to share with others.

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.

The 2020 Judges

Frank Convit

Frank Convit, described as singing with the “poignant power of a seasoned soloist” (Richard Balthazar Blog), has been captivating audiences with his rich timbre and ringing high notes.

Valerie Anne Jones Francis

Valerie Anne Jones Francis is a native of New Orleans and a proud product of the New Orleans Public School System. She is a 1979 graduate of McDonogh #35 where she studied under the capable tutelage of Mrs. Patricia Sallier Seals.

Kenya Lawrence Jackson

Kenya Lawrence Jackson currently serves as the Director of Music and Worship at St. Timothy United Methodist Church in Mandeville, LA where her duties include coordinating a large and diverse music program.

Previous Winners

View the list of the competition winners by year here.

Do you have questions?

Contact Debby Wood, Wood Competition Director (504) 931-3608 or
Dr. William Mouat, Education Director (504) 267-9535 at email:

Education News

Introduction to Opera!


Join New Orleans Opera artists Taylor Ott, Rachel Looney, and Frank Convit in a fun-filled extravaganza of musical theater including light opera and operetta selections as they participate in the 2020 Summer Reading Program from the St. Bernard Parish Library.

The program runs approximately 60 minutes long and can be streamed from June 26 until August 31, 2020.

This is a great opportunity for you and the children in your life to explore music from Donizetti to Sondheim and so much more!

The New Orleans Opera is grateful to the St. Bernard Parish Library for the opportunity to participate in this years Summer Reading Program!

Paid for by funding from a grant from the from the Louisiana Division of the Arts, Office of Cultural Development, Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism, in cooperation with the Louisiana State Arts Council, and as administered by the St. Tammany Commission on Cultural Affairs, St. Tammany Parish Government. Funding has also been provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, ArtWorks and from a donation from Wayne and Arlette Nunez and the Shell Matching Funds Gift Program.


The New Orleans Opera Association’s Wood Operatic Advancement Grant

The Wood Operatic Advancement Grant (the “WOAG”), a branch of the New Orleans Opera Association’s Donald W. Wood Sr. Vocal Competition (the “Wood Competition”), provides financial assistance to the winners of the Wood Competition to help them in pursuit of their career in the performance area of opera while studying in college or post-graduate studies. The WOAG was the idea of Phyllis Treigle, the Vocal Music Chair at the New Orleans Center of Creative Arts and set in motion by Debby Hirsch Wood (the Founder and Director of the Wood Competition).

The Grant is open only to winners (first, second, or honorable mention) of the Donald W. Wood Sr. Vocal Competition.

The purpose to which the grant will be applied is for expenses relating to the pursuit of the Wood Competition winners’ career in opera performance whether in college or post-graduate studies.

Expenses may include (but are not limited to) travel and related expenses for auditions, coaching, out-of-town studies, performances, college/post-college expenses, meals, or any and all expenses related in pursuit of their degree or career in opera performance. 

The WOAG is solely for the purpose of promoting up-and-coming opera performers.

  • Applications will be accepted for the Fall/Winter WOAG no later than midnight, September 30.   
  • The Fall/Winter WOAG period runs August 1 through January 31.
  • Applications will be accepted for the Spring/Summer WOAG no later than midnight, February 15.
  • The Spring/Summer period runs February 1 through July 31.

A team (chosen by the Director of the WOAG) from the New Orleans Opera Association (the “Team”) will decide recipient(s) of The Grant. The Team will announce the recipient(s) shortly after applications are reviewed and decisions made by the Team.

Any misrepresentation on the application or abuse of stipulation during funding period is cause for disqualification without benefit of appeal.

For more information please contact:

If given this grant, you will need to submit a follow-up brief email to the Founder and Director of The Grant on how the grant empowered you to pursue your operatic vocal career. Your email will be used by the New Orleans Opera Association/Donald W. Wood Sr. Vocal Competition.

You may contact Ms. Wood at (504) 931-3608 with any questions.


Student Night Out

Sponsored by the Louise B. Martin Family Fund

2020-2021 Dates TBA soon!

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.

In the meantime, enjoy this video.

And this one…