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 onthe 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.
A year ago, Emily Barber had just finished a successful run of performances of New Orleans Opera Association’s Carmen and was contemplating future productions.
A year later, much has changed.
Instead of ensuring opera singers hit their marks on stage and props are where they are supposed to be, Emily is now stocking PPEs, creating social distancing, and sanitizing props and areas for Opera on Tap – In Our Yard! series of outdoor concerts held at the New Orleans Opera Women’s Guild Home on Prytania Street.
It is a new position at the opera, and it was a natural evolution for Emily.
“Being a stage manager involves a lot of duties and responsibilities,” said Emily. “Making sure production is running fully, everyone in communication. I am the liaison between several different departments.”
Essentially the “mission control” of an opera.
When the opera postponed its season, they still wanted to keep live opera in the city, where it has been performed since the 1790s, making it the oldest one in the U.S. to regularly do so. The New Orleans Opera Association was founded in 1943.
And that’s where Opera on Tap – In Our Yard! and Emily make a difference.
Opera on Tap – In Our Yard! is a variation of Opera on Tap, a longtime program – and a favorite — that brings opera out of the theater and into sometimes unorthodox settings, such as a bar.
The difference and name change came about because the concert series moved to the yard at the Women’s Opera Guild’s beautiful 19th-century home.
The first concert Oct. 24 was “Sing It Sister!”, celebrating the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote. On Oct. 31, the concert was “Sinister Saturday!”, featuring music about witches, fairy-tale characters and other creatures.
Emily was prepared.
“I had to familiarize myself with all guidelines relevant to our event,” said Emily. “This included guidelines from AGMA (American Guild of Musical Artists) and OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration), as well as local guidelines.”
She then implemented them for the concert, which held only 100 people due to local guidelines.
“I ensured there were appropriate traffic patterns for guests’ entrances and exits, enough sanitization stations present, bathrooms were being cleaned between every use, and all present were not only COVID symptom free, but also staying socially distant and masked,” said Emily.
“We also changed and disinfected all equipment being used by singers between each person.”
The opera had a team of four, including Emily: One on bathroom duty, one monitoring the entrance gate and taking temperatures, and the third changing and disinfecting equipment for the singers, with Emily supervising to make sure everything was in compliance at all times.
The opera also made sure to have at least twice the amount of PPEs than everyone present at the venue.
“Another large concern was making sure our singers could perform without having to use masks,” said Emily. “Following the AGMA union guidelines, we needed four feet of social distancing behind and on the sides of each performer, as well as 15 feet in front of them. This is in addition to making sure the event was taking place outside.”
Because the event was so small, Emily was not hired as the stage manager, but as the COVID-19 compliance officer.
It makes sense.
“As a stage manager your first priority is safety, after that is the integrity and running of the production. I’ve taken courses in both physical and emotional safety, so shifting my brain to health felt natural,” said Emily.
“The big hurdle was making sure I knew exactly what the new health expectations were since our world is now changing so rapidly.”
Emily emphasized that because a COVID compliance officer has a lot of moving parts, the position should not be combined with any other one.
“This not only is an AGMA union requirement of the position but is also important for the health and safety of all,” she added.
This training as a COVID compliance officer will prove important for the opera – and Emily — going forward, when productions move back indoors. AGMA’s COVID compliance playbook contains guidelines that ensure performers and audience safety for both inside and outside performances.
“Once opera General Director Clare Burovac and I started talking about next season,” said Emily, “she wanted to know that I was trained as a COVID compliance officer so I could be there for smaller events, and still have the knowledge in my back pocket when I am the stage manager for a large production and the opera hires a separate COVID compliance officer.”
“The health and safety of all our performers, staff, and audience is our number one concern at this time,” said Burovac. “We want to continue to provide musical performances to our community, but not at the risk of endangering anyone’s health. That’s why Emily’s position is so vital to us right now.”
“Clare and I thought it was important to everyone in production and the audience,” said Emily.
This knowledge is something she will bring to the Chautauqua Opera Company in Chautauqua, located near Lake Erie in northwest New York State. The opera, founded in 1929, is North America’s oldest continuously operating summer opera company. She is the stage manager there during the summer.
It’s a schedule that works for Emily, who was in the vocal program at New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA) and graduated from Loyola University with a bachelor’s degree in music in opera performance. She started as a performer – a spinto soprano — but realized that it wasn’t for her and made the switch to stage manger.
“Being a stage manager makes me happy,” said Emily. “I am still in opera, a field that I love, but not the center of attention.”
Her favorite operas to work on are modern ones, pointing out a production of “The Ghosts of Versailles,” for which she was the stage manager two summers ago at Chautauqua.
Emily’s favorite traditional opera is Giacomo Puccini’s “Madama Butterfly”: “The music is so incredibly beautiful, and the plot is so gut-wrenching.”
The opera is planning a new season in January 2021, and Opera on Tap – In Our Yard! will continue with two spring concerts, “Shakespeare” and “Travel the World.” Dates to be finalized soon.
Opera patrons can rest assured Emily will be there either monitoring the performances as the stage manager, or as a COVID compliance officer.
Join us at the Broadside for Bergman’s The Magic Flute and a concert at highlighting the genius and variety of Mozart’s compositions, sung by New Orleans Opera singers. The concert is at 6:00 pm followed by the movie at 6:30. The tickets are $30 per person.
The Broadside is the sister business of The Broad Theater and is located at 600 N. Broad St., New Orleans, LA 70119. It’s an open air venue with a full bar, hot dogs and popcorn! They are following all Covid-19 safety rules (masks required). The seats are paired and safely distanced.
Be among the first to hear New Orleans Opera news.
ABOUT THE MOVIE
Ingmar Bergman’s 1975 production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute, originally made for television, has been re-released several times for Bergman retrospectives and was beautifully restored by the Criterion Collection.
“Bergman’s production is a cool, frank presentation of the opera, an imagined theatrical performance that begins by looking at members of the audience in turn, but in the course of the action periodically returning to a single young girl’s smiling or thoughtful face – infrequently enough for us to realize that we had forgotten about her, and that another, quieter narrative is running alongside the story: that of this girl’s enjoyment and judgement.
To see a clip and read more about the production including the cast, click here.
ABOUT THE BROADSIDE
“Local drive-in movie and concert events have sold-out quickly since the pandemic shutdowns began, but it’s restaurants that got The Broad Theater’s Brian Knighten thinking about opening an outdoor venue. When the city of New Orleans announced in May that restaurants could apply for permits to have outdoor seating, he started planning.”
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 email@example.com. 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.