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 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!


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


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!