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!


The Results are in!

Audience Survey results delivered.

JULY 7, 2020

The New Orleans Opera and the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra commissioned a survey last month from Market Dynamic Research Group. The primary objective of the research was to measure consumers’ comfort levels attending cultural events as well as their preferences for nontraditional events.

The general public and local arts organizations were invited to participate through announcements on WWNO, email blasts and social media. The respondents were classified as Opera Members, LPO Members and General Public.

Below is a sample finding, click the link above to see the entire report.

Thank you to everyone that participated and to MDRG and WWNO!

Audience Survey

June 10, 2020

The New Orleans Opera and Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra are working with Market Dynamic Research Group (MDRG, Inc.) to gain insights into how you, and all supporters of the arts in New Orleans, are feeling about attending live performances.

Our missions are currently achieved through public events and we will be following all of the guidelines and restrictions put forth by our local government. Your participation will help us move forward with any alternative planning necessary to met these guidelines and restrictions.

If you are on our email lists, you should have received (or will soon!) an invitation to participate. Please take this opportunity to be a guiding voice.

The email invitation is from Haley Kiernan at MDRG, Inc. OR you can click the button below to participate right now.

The survey closes on June 22, 2020 and once the analysis is completed the findings will be shared publicly for all arts organizations and others to use as needed. If you think others in your circle would like to participate, please share the link. Thank you!


New Orleans Opera Face Masks

We love our new face masks and can’t wait to see you wearing them around town!

They are currently available in Large, Extra Large and Child sizes for $15.00 each.

There are limited quantities of each design so if your favorite one is out of stock, let us know which one you like best and we’ll order more!

Our face masks are NOT medical grade masks (which are recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) as an infection preventative measure, i.e. grade FFP2/N95). So please DO NOT purchase this face masks with the false understanding they will prevent infection from Coronavirus. They are more about protecting others to reduce spread. Due to the personal hygiene nature of the product, your custom face masks are non-returnable. Thank you for supporting NOOA and for sharing your love of opera!

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.


Announcing New Board Members and Officers for 2020-2021

New Orleans Opera held its Annual Meeting on June 10, 2020 via Zoom.

Under the direction of the Nominating Committee and with one nomination from the floor, the following slate of officers and board were voted in with unanimous approval.

Officers for 2020-2021

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

New Board Member

Prof. Cynthia Samuel

New Advisory Board Members

Mr. Timothy Hemphill 
Mr. Brian Monk
Mr. Mark Otts

Nominating Committee for 2020-2021

Mr. James C. Gulotta Jr.
Mrs. Pauline Hardin
Ms. Adrea Heebe
Ms. Sonya Moore
Mr. Vance Caesar

Education News

Virtual Summer Camp

June 8th – July 10th

Community Works is having another innovative season of summer camps; this time it is virtual and FREE! Registration is open now and will continue throughout the summer, so go check out their incredible programming! 

New Orleans Opera is teaching a fabulous workshop featuring characters and music from Gioachino Rossini’s The Barber of Seville as well as Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance, along with other operas, time permitting. 

Don’t miss this unique opportunity for your children, grades 4 through 8 to learn about singing, character development, the parts of the theatre, famous opera songs and arias and how to construct props and costume pieces at home!

If you are interested in signing your child up for the opera classes, choose the ‘Storytelling Works’ for your area of interest.

The opera classes include:

  • Exploring Figaro, Act I aria the “Largo al factotum” (in English) and we’ll learn about the plot and characters in The Barber of Seville! We’re also going to teach vocal warm-ups, along with acting, prop-making and costume activities. 
  • Weeks two and three will continue with the songs “Poor Wand’ring One” from Pirates of Penzance and a song that we have named “Warriors of Wotan” (based on the melody from the Ride of the Valkyries) from Die Walküre.  
  • We’ll teach fun facts about the stories and characters from these operas, and the students will have lots of imaginative activities in all three workshops! 

This is New Orleans Opera’s second year participating with the Community Works Summer Camps. Classes led by Taylor Ott with Jesse Reeks accompanying.

Taylor Ott, Instructor

Taylor Ott is a graduate from the New York City Mannes Conservatory of Music and she has extensive experience in opera and musical theatre performance in London, U.K. Taylor is also a stage director, choreographer and multimedia arts producer.  She has been the artistic director for several of our NOOA education projects since 2019, and she was the stage director for the Summer, 2019 Community Works, NOOA and Dillard University collaboration, entitled From Bizet to Mozart: A Journey Through Opera.

Jesse Reeks, Collaborative Pianist

Jesse Reeks is the son of two very successful musicians, and he has played the piano since he was old enough to speak! He is also an expert on the accordion and a master-level organist.  Jesse is comfortable in any realm of music, from secular to sacred and from classical to jazz. He has been the collaborative pianist for the Opéra Nouvelle series for the past year and a half, and he maintains an active performance schedule, even on the “virtual” level!

Development News

What about opera makes your #Heartsing?

Are you ready for more?

We are ready to bring our 78th season to the stage and can’t wait to welcome you back for our upcoming productions.

Opera is one of the most dramatic, emotional, and visually-stunning of the performing arts. Stories of love, life, and loss are brought to the stage – recounted through beautiful voices and accompanied by talented musicians. If you’ve attended a live performance with the New Orleans Opera Association, you know how powerful that experience can be. The joy of sharing it with an audience is not easily replicated.

Donate today and support the New Orleans Opera! You will not only be able to enjoy the productions you see on stage, but can also take pride in the knowledge that you are contributing to the richness of our community, supporting creative talent in our city, and ensuring that opportunities for live musical theater are available for years to come. Your participation makes everything possible!

Even though the theaters are closed “until further notice,” preparations are fully under way for the fall – vocalists are being engaged, the orchestra is receiving the musical scores, costumes are being sewn, and set are being built. However, we are pursuing every consideration as the influences of COVID-19 evolve. Just in case, we are researching alternative sites as venues for these productions – especially outdoor venues – to ensure the continued safety of our staff, artists and patrons.

Each performance is a union of many individuals who bring classical and contemporary works to life with their incredible talent. We are fortunate to have these artists locally in New Orleans and we need your support to make our 2020-2021 season the most memorable.

Please join us and donate to this special campaign today!

#Heartsing is a series that originated from correspondence between New Orleans Opera Chorus Master Carol Rausch and members of the New Orleans Opera Association’s Chorus members. We are grateful they have allowed us to share aspects of their professional and personal lives during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.  

“I miss singing my heart out…”

JUAN LUIS WILLIAMS (right), tenor, is a native of Puerto Rico, and a Pilates instructor. His sister, Yali Marie, is a professional singer, who sang the role of Baroness Pontalba in NOOA’s 2003 production. Juan has been in the…
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“…we feel so blessed!!”

JULIANA STARR, mezzo, who is one of the choristers who started with us right after Katrina, since she had moved here from Memphis (she sang with the Opera Chorus of that city’s company!) to start…
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I’m excited!

MARK-ANTHONY THOMAS, tenor, a native New Orleanian who received his B.M. in Vocal Performance from Loyola; he teaches Classical Voice and Music Theory at NOCCA, is the Music Arts Director at Vintage Church New Orleans,…
Read More

“Doing well here.”

DAVID HINTON, bass. Hailing from Orlando, FL, he attended Georgia State University where he studied under Peter Harrower. He has performed in the US and Canada, doing Musical Theater, as well as Opera. He was…
Read More


Film Festival de Jeanne d’Arc

The Joan of Arc Project invites the public to participate in the first Film Festival de Jeanne d’Arc. Each week the public is invited to view online, at their leisure, the selected film. Each Friday participants are invited to gather virtually on Zoom at 8 p.m. CT to discuss the featured movie.

Throughout the series, thought provoking discussion questions, virtual concession cocktail and food recipes, and summaries of the movies will be available on their Facebook event listing.

The Zoom gathering will begin at 8 p.m. CT and end at 9 p.m. each Friday. The conversation will be hosted by our leadership team featuring Founder Amy Kirk Duvoisin, Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres and playwright, and Co-Captains Antoinette de Alteriis and Amanda Helm. Special guests will include a selection of creators and commentators.

The movie line-up is accessible through our Krewe de Jeanne d’Arc Library Online Library, a project in conjunction with New Orleans Public Library: Speaking Volumes initiative. Please view the movie in the days prior to the meeting date as you would a book in a book club.

May 15: The Legend of Joan of Arc (2019) – This marionette film has been licensed by the local government of Vosges to be screened daily at the official Joan of Arc museum in her hometown of Domremy, where the film had its premiere. The Classics in Miniature® Award-Winning Puppet Film Series presents The Legend of Joan of Arc. Written and directed by Steven Ritz-Barr, it is a groundbreaking project five years in the making with an international cast and crew and never-before-seen cinematic marionette action involving dozens of exquisitely detailed puppets handmade by Russian Master Puppet-maker Eugene Seregin.

For the discussion, the creator, Steven Ritz-Barr, will contribute to our conversation.

May 22:           Warrior Women with Lucy Lawless: The Joan of Arc Episode (2003)

May 29:           Jeanne La Pucelle 2-part French Film with English subtitles (1994)

June 5:            Jeannette: The Childhood of Joan of Arc Movie-Length Heavy Metal Musical (2017)  NOTE: this may require a $2.99 download

June 12:          The Passion of Joan of Arc silent film

(1928- just 8 years after she was declared a saint!)

June 19:          The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc (1999)

See the schedule on their website and Facebook page for the complete event listing.

For additional information contact Film Festival de Jeanne d’Arc Coordinator and Krewe de Jeanne d’Arc Co-Captain, Antoinette de Alteriis at or 504.77.451.

The purpose of the Joan of Arc Project is to honor and celebrate Joan of Arc’s life in unique artistic and educational ways, including the production of the annual Joan of Arc Parade and Salon de Jeanne d’Arc. The Krewe de Jeanne d’Arc seeks to keep Joan’s story and spirit alive by hosting events, workshops, and presentations that illuminate Joan’s heroism and timelessness, while connecting her to the French heritage and pride of New Orleans.  “The Maid of Orleans” inspires citizens of New Orleans and people around the world; we welcome people of all faiths and backgrounds to join in our joyous, New Orleans-style revelry.

Get involved in the Krewe:  Sign up here to volunteer with the parade.


O Sewing Mio

By Sue Strachan

Julie Winn, New Orleans Opera Association’s costume designer, pivots from making costumes to masks and scrub caps for healthcare workers

During the spring and summer, Julie Winn would usually be busy sewing costumes for the upcoming New Orleans Opera Association season.

As the opera’s costume designer for the past six seasons, Julie has given Sweeney Todd, The Vampire, Dead Man Walking, Orpheus in the Underworld, and Abduction from the Seraglio a visual tableau as rich as the music.

But when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Julie suddenly had time on her hands.

The opera cancelled Charlie Parker’s Yardbird originally scheduled for April, and postponed The Magic Flute to Spring 2021, freeing up time in Julie’s busy schedule.

“When this first happened I brought home artsy stuff so I could sit around and be creative making things,” said Julie.

“All of a sudden on Facebook I saw that there was a shortage of masks.”

Julie knew she could put her skills to work making masks, and started doing research on mask patterns, which in the early days was confusing with the number of different ones being disseminated online.

Wading through the options, Julie chose one and started sewing.

Her first donated batch of masks went to Covenant House New Orleans.

“I heard from a friend who was on the board that they had nothing,” said Julie, and she soon sewed 30 masks.

Julie uses three different patterns, which she has altered to a varying degree. All are made of two layers of cotton with elastic, and a few using bias tape, to go around the ears.

The first mask she made was pleated. 

“Then when I wanted to make the masks more safe and couldn’t find a pattern, I found a You Tube video on how to sew a mask so a filter can be inserted into it,” Julie said. She doesn’t add the filter; she allows whoever is using it to make that decision.

The third mask option doesn’t have pleats and fits snugly on the face.

It wasn’t too long before Julie found herself making scrub caps after Alex Christian Lucas contacted her. Lucas, a graduating senior at Loyola University, has performed in the opera’s chorus as a baritenor.

“Whenever there is something going on like this, I need to help,” said Alex. “I don’t’ know how to sew, so my first thought was ‘Who do I know who can sew?’ ”

He put the call out and found people, like Julie, who could and wanted to sew.

Alex approached his mother, Karla Lucas, RN, the ICU Director at Ochsner Baptist Hospital, to find out if there was anything the hospital needed but was unable to supply.

“I told him thing that nurses would appreciate bouffant or skull surgical caps,” said Karla.  “We can’t really use homemade surgical masks.”

Homemade masks do not meet PPE requirements for healthcare workers treating COVID-19 patients. They do not block the airborne respiratory droplets.

Julie got to work and through trial and error created patterns for both types of caps.

“The first time I made about 50 caps,” said Julie, who adds that the total amount is now approaching 90.

The two styles work well because the bouffant is roomier for more hair, while the skullcap is closer the head. Nurses also liked the extra protection with a cap on, with some having hairstyles that don’t allow them to wash their hair every night.

Other bonuses?

“They are fun to wear,” said Karla, also noting when a nurse is covered up wearing PPE, “You recognize people by the cap on their head,” citing the different fabric patterns.

The caps immediately caught the attention of doctors and other hospital units, who started asking for them as well.

Even though healthcare workers couldn’t use the masks, Julie has made some for the hospital, but only for administrative staff that doesn’t come in contact with patients.

Julie can make 15 to 20 masks a day. Other recipients of her handmade masks are the staff of optometrist Dr. Brendon Sumich.

Julie also created an innovation with the caps and masks. Nurses began have issues with the elastic rubbing up against their skin too much, so Julie bought stretchy headbands and added buttons on the ends so the elastic could hook on the buttons instead of the ears. Julie likens the design to headgear for braces.

Creativity, problem-solving and an eye for detail is natural for this Algiers native, who studied drama and communications at University of New Orleans, followed by an internship at the Juilliard School in costume and design.

After that, “I never stopped working,” said Julie.

In addition to the opera, Julie’s designs and handiwork – as well as millinery – have also been seen on the stages of Le Petit Théâtre du Vieux Carré, Southern Rep Theatre, NOLA Project and Summer Lyric Theatre at Tulane, as well as in a number of theatrical touring companies and movies.

Julie makes her caps and masks at home. “My front room is a sewing room.”

Julie initially started using fabric remnants and other supplies at home, then went to the opera’s H. Lloyd Hawkins Scenic Studio to see what remnants from making costumes could be used. Fabric was donated by RicRack from Walmart and elastic mask bands from Lynn Highstreet who owns Vieux Carre Hair Store. And, she has received monetary donations to purchase supplies, and the opera is now helping with production and costs.

The best fabric for masks and caps is 100 percent cotton, with Julie making them on her 20 year-plus Elna sewing machine.

“So far it has gotten me through this whole thing,” said Julie.

In addition to her work at the opera, Julie is the costume designer for Louisiana State University, which was in the middle of performances for “Manon,” when the quarantine began.

“In the beginning it was an emotional experience,” said Julie says about making the masks and caps. “Because so many people needed them and I couldn’t make them fast enough.”

But for those who got them, they mean the world.

“Everyone just loved them,” said Karla Lucas. “And love the fact these are voluntarily made.”