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…

“I know we weren’t going to do announce this until Saturday, October 24, but you needed GOOD NEWS NOW!!!”

Debby Hirsch Wood, Founder and Director of the Donald W. Wood, Sr. Vocal Competition



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!

The New Orleans Opera Association is proud to announce the winners of the Fall/Winter 2020 WOOD OPERATIC ADVANCEMENT GRANT: Imani Sarai Francis and Lindsey Reynolds.

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


Ruth Falcon

New Orleans Opera mourns the passing of soprano Ruth Falcon, a graduate of Loyola and Tulane Universities, who made her New Orleans Opera debut in 1968 as Frasquita in Carmen.  Ms. Falcon performed all over the United States and Europe, making her New York City debut as Micaela in Carmen and her Metropolitan Opera debut as the Empress in Die Frau Ohne Schatten.  Her last role with New Orleans Opera was Leonore in Verdi’s Il trovatore, which opened the 1997-98 season. Following her successful performing career, she turned to teaching and became a successful pedagogue, guiding many opera singers as they launched international careers. Most recently she had been an esteemed faculty member of the Mannes School of Music.

News Opera On Tap

Opera on Tap – In Our Yard

Until we can perform in our favorite drinking establishments again, we are so very proud to present to you:

October 24, 2020

3:00 pm and 5:00 pm SOLD OUT!

October 31, 2020

3:00 pm and 5:00 pm SOLD OUT!

Date TBD, Spring 2021

On Sale Spring 2021

Date TBD, Spring 2021

On Sale Spring 2021


  • Performances will take place on the lawn of the Opera Guild Home, 2504 Prytania Street, NOLA 70130.
  • Concerts begin at 5:00 pm.
  • Face Masks Required (additional safety rules are outlined on our website.)
  • Tickets are $30 for a section and each section seats up to 3 people. Sections are assigned in the order tickets are purchased, so buy now for the best availability! 
  • Bring a blanket or chairs (up to 3 chairs per section). No food or beverages will be available, so please BYOB.

About the Concerts:

Sing it, Sister!

Opera on Tap presents “Sing it, Sister!” – an all-women’s concert celebrating the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote! This special program anticipates our Election Day with music representing women from many walks of life, including Susan B. Anthony. As with all OOT programs, you can expect an engaging mix of Opera, Broadway and more!

Singers Nicole Heinen, Vickie R. Thomas, Haley Whitney, Rachel Abbate, Mary Cloud and Zara Zemmels are accompanied by Carol Rausch.

Sinister Saturday!

Opera on Tap presents “Sinister Saturday!” – a Halloween-themed concert with music about witches, zombies, fairy tale creatures, fortune-tellers, denizens of the underworld and the usual murder and mayhem. Costumes are optional….but don’t forget your mask!

And don’t worry – the program will be over before the sun goes down.

Singers Kameron Lopreore, Frank Convit, Spencer Reichman, Rachel Abbate, Nicole Heinen and Isabella Vanderhoof are joined by pianist Carol Rausch.

Shakespeare In The Park In Our Yard!

Opera on Tap presents “Shakespeare in the Park – In Our Yard” – Date TBD. 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 Concert In Our Yard!

Opera on Tap presents “Travel the World in Concert – In Our Yard!” Date TBD. Even if your summer 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!

Join 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.

New Orleans Opera Video Series News

Meet us

Let’s get to know each other better!

Like everyone around the world, the New Orleans Opera team has been busy thinking about the future.

We appreciate your help with our ongoing audience survey! We have been arranging and rearranging performance plans, adjusting to zoom meetings, and are continuing to reach out to our community through emails, social media, and phone calls.

If you have not heard from us, know that we are still working through our list but please do reach out if you have questions or concerns! The Box Office is open Monday – Friday from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, (504) 529-3000.

We want to connect. And we want you to get to know us too! Enjoy our new series of interviews as we work to become better acquainted.

Meet Mark-Anthony, NOOA Chorister and Outreach Artist, singer, arranger, educator, and more!
Meet Ranney Mize, Trustee of the New Orleans Opera Association
Meet Imani Francis, a recipient of the 2019 Donald W. Wood. Sr. Advancement Grant
Meet Julia Ernst, a winner of the 2019 Wood Competition
Clare Burovac, General Director-Designate

Opera Season Postponed

To our New Orleans Opera family,  

As eager as we are to see you again and enjoy live opera together, we must proceed with everyone’s well-being and safety as the topmost priority. The current climb in COVID-19 cases across the state has caused us to re-evaluate our aspiration of opening our season in the fall. We have made the difficult decision to postpone the 2020-2021 season’s start until January 2021 – a three-month delay. 

The opera’s promoted repertory for next season is still the same, although the dates have changed to accommodate a slightly compressed schedule.

Here are the new performance dates:

Beethoven’s FIDELIO – Friday, January 15 and Saturday, January 16, 2021

Mozart’s THE MAGIC FLUTE – Friday, March 19 and Sunday, March 21, 2021

Gershwin’s PORGY & BESS – Friday, April 30, 2021 and Sunday, May 2, 2021

Puccini’s MADAMA BUTTERFLY – Friday, May 21 and Sunday, May 23, 2021  

Please know if you have already purchased a season subscription, your tickets will transfer.

If you have a conflict with the new dates, please call the Box Office at (504) 529-3000 or email We have also extended our Early-Bird pricing through November 1, 2020.

Our intention at this time is to mount each production at the Mahalia Jackson Theater for the Performing Arts (previously FIDELIO was to be performed at the Orpheum Theater). This is, of course, contingent upon any further decisions by the Mayor and the Governor and we are constantly monitoring this situation.   

On behalf of our Board and staff, we appreciate your patience and understanding as we work through this challenging time together. We will continue to update you with any new changes as they occur.

Very best wishes,

Robert Lyall, General and Artistic Director

Clare Burovac, General Director – Designate

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:


Clare Burovac named General Director-Designate

Dwayne Littauer, President of New Orleans Opera, today announced the appointment of Clare Burovac as the Company’s next General Director, effective September 15, 2020. Ms. Burovac will serve as General Director-Designate immediately. She succeeds Robert Lyall, who will step down as General Director of New Orleans Opera in September and will serve as Artistic Director for the remainder of the 2020-21 season.

Clare Burovac comes to New Orleans from Portland, Oregon, where for the past eleven years she served as Director of Artistic Operations for Portland Opera. Professionally trained as a violinist, she began her career in opera as a stage manager and was awarded a prestigious fellowship in opera production by OPERA America, the national association for opera. She served on the production team at the Seattle Opera and moved into the position of Production Stage Manager there before joining the Portland Opera.

In announcing the appointment, Mr. Littauer said, “We are delighted to welcome Clare Burovac to New Orleans Opera. A proven leader and advocate for opera, Clare combines broad experience in producing opera with a passion for developing young artists and connecting audiences with opera. She will be a major asset to our Company and the New Orleans community.”

Clare Burovac said, “I am thrilled to be invited to be the next General Director of New Orleans Opera. The rich history of this Company is really the history of opera in America for three centuries. The opportunity to honor and advance this great tradition is both exhilarating and awe-inspiring.”

Mr. Littauer praised Maestro Lyall for his 23 years of service leading the New Orleans Opera through some of its most difficult times and for consistently presenting outstanding productions to the community. He also thanked Dr. Ranney Mize, Chair of the Transition Committee that undertook a national search for the Company’s next leader. Dr. Mize expressed his gratitude to the 11-member committee for their work over the past six months. “The Transition Committee set out to find the best possible leader to continue the long and rich tradition of opera in New Orleans while expanding our commitment to the community. Clare Burovac brings these skills to our Company and our city. We are delighted to welcome her.”

During her tenure at Portland Opera, Ms. Burovac oversaw all artistic planning and education and community engagement programs, including the Company’s new ‘Opera a la Cart’ initiative, which brought free outdoor performances to all corners of the Portland metro area. Under her leadership, the Company produced two world-premiere recordings, expanded access to opera in the schools, and produced the Company’s first bilingual opera, a Spanish/English production of Rossini’s The Barber of Seville for Portland Opera To Go, which traveled throughout Oregon and neighboring states. As the director of the Portland Opera Resident Artist Program, Ms. Burovac developed the program into one of the most competitive in the United States.

A frequent judge of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, Clare Burovac is a member of the steering committee of the Women’s Opera Network for OPERA America and served as a mentor for the inaugural year of its Mentorship Program.

When she takes the helm as General Director, Clare Burovac will fill a position that was held by Robert Lyall for the past 23 years. Maestro Lyall said, “I am very happy to welcome Clare Burovac as the next General Director of New Orleans Opera. I know the community will support her work enthusiastically and generously as they did for me, and I wish her great success.”

Marc Scorca, President and CEO of Opera America, was also enthusiastic, saying “When Clare Burovac was selected to participate in OPERA America’s Fellowship Program early in her career, we knew she would progress to a top position in the field. We are delighted to learn of her appointment as New Orleans Opera’s next general director and know the company will be well-served by her deep knowledge of opera, production expertise, and national stature.”

Ms. Burovac will immediately be named General Director-designate. Her tenure as the first woman to be General Director in New Orleans Opera history begins in mid-September when she and her husband, stage director Christopher Mattaliano, make New Orleans their new home.


Brava Taylor! Bravi Community Works kiddos!

Through COVID we are still teaching opera summer camp at the Community Works virtual program, and check out our other ongoing activities, including Balcony Ballads!

Pictured above is Taylor Ott, our remarkable teaching artist and valued NOOA education associate since early 2019. The gallery below features a couple of snap shots of the online camp.

Thank you Community Works!