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.  

“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…
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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,…
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“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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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.”


The American Prize in Composition goes to…

Zach Redler        
The Falling and The Risin

The American Prize is a series of new, non-profit national competitions in the performing arts providing cash awards, professional adjudication and regional, national and international recognition for the best recorded performances by ensembles and individuals each year in the United States at the professional, college/university, church, community and secondary school levels. Administered by Hat City Music Theater, Inc., a nonprofit organization based in Danbury, Connecticut, The American Prize was founded in 2009 and is awarded annually.

Zach Redler is a music theater composer whose work has been performed in concert halls, opera houses and theaters around the world. Ben Brantley of the New York Times said, Zach’s “music becomes a character that both connects and divides the others.” In 2014, the American Theatre Wing awarded him the Jonathan Larson Grant. Some of his favorite theater compositions are: The Memory Show, Movin’ Up In The World, Loving Leo, Windows, A Song for Susan Smith, ADAM, and, his most recent American Prize award winning piece, The Falling and The Rising (libretto by Jerre Dye). Currently, he is working on a chamber opera commission for Houston Grand Opera (Dye), a new piece for Opera Memphis (Dye), and a piece for Opera on the James with text by young poets. He is adjunct faculty at NYU Tisch’s Graduate Musical Theater Writing Program, a part-time AP Music Theory teacher at Greenwich Academy, a private music, yoga, and meditation teacher, loves cooking plant based meals for his family, and enjoys running ultramarathons. Love to his wife Brittney and two children, Henry and Ellis.

Congratulations Zach!

New Orleans Opera Photographs of The Falling and The Rising from November 6, 2019 by Jeff Strout


This is YOUR chance to get the best seats for the best price! Fill out this short form and we will call or email you when tickets go on sale.

More information including casting, the seating chart, and price list will be available soon!


2020 – 2021 Season Announcement

The new realities in which we are suddenly living cause us to seek sources of hope and celebration.

So here’s your menu for a brilliant musical future! 

Thanks to the dedication of our Board of Directors and staff, after months of planning, we are ready to announce the 2020 – 2021 New Orleans Opera season.

Please note that the May 1 and 3, 2020 performances of Mozart’s The Magic Flute have been rescheduled to March 19 and 21, 2021 as a part of our next season.

The 2020 – 2021 New Orleans Opera Season 

Giacomo Puccini’s Madama Butterfly at the Mahalia Jackson Theater on October 2 & 4, 2020

Puccini’s soaring lyricism speaks directly to your heart and fully conveys both the ecstasy of innocent love and the agony of its betrayal. In this, one of the world’s most beloved operatic masterpieces, the arranged marriage of a young Japanese geisha to an American naval officer, leads to the painful consequences of a clash of cultures with its inevitable tragic conclusion. 

Ludwig van Beethoven’s Fidelio at the Orpheum Theater on November 13 & 14, 2020. A Semi-staged concert production in partnership with The Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra.

Leonore, disguising herself as a young man, Fidelio, gains entrance to the state prison in an attempt to save her husband from certain death at the hands of his powerful political opponent, Don Pizarro, the Director of the State Prison. Beethoven’s triumphal opera has delighted audiences for centuries with its themes of justice, freedom, the strength of the human spirit, and the enduring power of love—which triumphs over all!

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s The Magic Flute at the Mahalia Jackson Theater on March 19 & 21, 2021

The Magic Flute (Die Zauberflöte) is a fairytale to be enjoyed for the simple beauties  of its  story alone. But the fairytale’s rich layering that explores good vs. evil in a beautiful celebration of love conquering all offers so much more. Our production will also be framed by a beautiful galaxy of Hubble Telescope photography adding an expanded universe to this timeless tale. Bring the entire family for an experience that is certain to delight young and old!

George and Ira Gershwin with DuBose and Dorothy Heyward’s Porgy and Bess at the Mahalia Jackson Theater on April 30 & May 2, 2021

This American Folk Opera is brimming with the brilliance of its endearingly infectious music that has for nearly a century captivated world-wide audiences from every corner of the musical spectrum. This masterful characterization of “Catfish Row,” an example of Southern culture’s turn into the early 20th century, is beautifully represented by classics like “Summertime,” “I’ve Got Plenty of Nuttin’,” and “It Ain’t Necessarily So,” that are just a few of the musical treasures that we all love!


All tickets to The Magic Flute will be honored next season. If for any reason you are unable to attend, you may exchange the tickets for a different opera or make a ticket donation to receive a tax-letter valued at the full amount of your ticket.

If you hold tickets to Charlie Parker’s Yardbird and you have not filled out the ticket option form we distributed on March 14th, please fill out the form. If you are in the position to donate, please do. Your donation will help us recover expenses incurred prior to this cancellation.

With gratitude for your continued support,

Robert Lyall, General and Artistic Director


Options for Ticket Holders to Charlie Parker’s Yardbird

To our patrons: If you have not seen our announcement regarding the cancellation of Charlie Parker’s Yardbird, please click here to read.

Below is the form we are requesting you to fill out regarding the ticket options and to help us streamline the process.

Thank you for your support of the New Orleans Opera Association!


OPERA America Celebrates New Orleans Opera in America’s First City of Opera.

December 4, 2019, marks the 100th anniversary of a New Orleans civic loss of operatic proportions and 2020, marks the 50th anniversary of opera companies from across the nation joining to establish OPERA America, the national service organization for opera. New Orleans Opera heeded the call to recognize both anniversaries and announces two events for both opera lovers and history buffs. There will be a presentation and panel discussion on the history of opera in New Orleans and a concert featuring world-renowned opera singers that call New Orleans home. These events celebrate the last 50 years of opera in America and mark the 100 year anniversary of the burning of the French Opera House and both are free to attend.

The Events

Presentation and Discussion: Celebrating New Orleans Opera in America’s First City of Opera

Join the company at the Historic New Orleans Collection on Tuesday, December 3, 2019, 6:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M. for a presentation and panel discussion devoted to the colorful history of opera in New Orleans moderated by Marc A. Scorca, President/CEO, OPERA America and featuring Robert Lyall, General and Artistic Director, New Orleans Opera; Givonna Joseph, Founder and Artistic Director OperaCréole; Alfred Lemmon, Director of the William Research Center at The Historic New Orleans Collection; and Jack Belsom, New Orleans Opera Archivist and Historian.

  • Presentation and Discussion: Celebrating New Orleans Opera in America’s First City of Opera
  • Tuesday, December 3, 2019
  • The Historic New Orleans Collections, 410 Chartres St. ( Plenty of public parking is available nearby, with the closest lots located on the 500 block of Chartres Street and the 500 block of Conti Street. Other lots are available on Decatur Street by the Mississippi River. Map here.)
  • 6:00 P.M. – 8:00 P.M. – Panel Discussion first with a reception following.

Concert: Loss and Rebirth – one hundred years later

Heard from the stage of the French Opera House.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019, at 7:30 P.M. is a concert featuring Greer Grimsley, Luretta Bybee, Bryan Hymel, Irini Kyriakidou, Sarah Jane McMahon, Dennis Jesse, and Claire Shackleton – all singing music featured in the French Opera House’s 1919-1920 Season. Carol Rausch accompanies. Katie Burlison, Curator from Hermann-Grima + Gallier Historic Houses, and Robert Lyall will narrate this special evening.

  • Concert: Loss and Rebirth – one hundred years later
  • Wednesday, December 4, 2019
  • Nunemaker Auditorium at Loyola University – located on the third floor of the Monroe Science Complex directly behind the Communications/Music Complex (Campus map here)
  • 7:30 P.M. – 9:00 P.M.


Marking Time

On December 4, 1919, the French Opera House was destroyed by fire. Located at 517–541 Bourbon Street, the French Opera House was commissioned by opera director Charles Boudousquie and designed by James Gallier. It was built in less than a year in 1859 with workers aided by the light of bonfires in the evenings to accommodate 24 hours a day construction.

OPERA America is partnering with its sixteen founding member companies to celebrate a half-century of opera’s progress in America.

Fifty years later, New Orleans Opera was among the companies in 1970 that joined in the founding of OPERA America, the national service organization and champion for opera artists, administrators, trustees and audiences. The strides of the industry over the last fifty years result from the achievements of individual opera companies, administrators, artists and advocates in communities nationwide. This series of regional symposia, provides an opportunity for the founders of OPERA America to highlight their contributions to the vibrancy of opera.

Made possible by: