Innovative Explorations

New Orleans Opera has spent the last year researching and assembling a team of illustrious local scholars, performers, educators, institutions, and community partners to present and document a series of exploratory operatic experiences that examine the contributions of residents of colour while connecting their experiences to the varied and tremendous influences throughout pivotal moments in the development of New Orleans culture.
“Each decade over the past century, New Orleans has developed quintessential sounds from jazz and blues to funk and hip-hop.” says William Mouat, New Orleans Opera Education Director, “With that said, many people aren’t aware of the history of opera in our city and its influence on Jazz and other musical genres.”

This series will address major components of New Orleans musical history; beginning with the African rhythmic gatherings in Congo Square and gens de couleur libres, or free people of color, who distinguished themselves in classical music and opera. The project then presents the spiritual and religious music of the African American church following the sounds of Storyville and Ragtime. They’ll also include the music of the big band era as well as the birth of jazz and the blues. The project also delves into the music of the Civil Rights Movement and Freedom Riders and explores a modern convergence of bounce, R&B, gospel, blues, jazz, hip-hop, and opera. The presentations will take place with partner organizations all over the city throughout the 2019-2020 season.


Tickets are FREE for this event, however, space is limited so please RSVP by clicking HERE.

On Friday, June 14th at The New Orleans Jazz Museum, New Orleans Opera and OperaCréole will be hosting a reception with performances to officially launch Innovative Explorations, a series of community collaborative educational events, performances, and exhibitions taking place over the next year. The event is free and open to the public. The launch reception is at 6:30 pm followed by performances at 7:30 pm.

The launch event will feature performances by project partners OperaCréole, who will be presenting a program of Creole folk and slave songs, as well as excerpts of their original opera “Les Lions de La Reconstruction (The Lions of Reconstruction): From Black Codes to the Ballot Box” which tells the story of New Orleans free people of color, and their hand-delivered petition to President Abraham Lincoln. This program includes music of 19th Century New Orleans free classical composers of color.

Tickets are FREE for this event, however, space is limited so please RSVP by clicking HERE.

Excited by what you see? You can become a patron, sponsor, underwriter or supporter of the Innovation Project! CLICK HERE to make a donation. To designate your gift to the Innovation Project, please remember to complete the optional “DEDICATION INFORMATION” section on the page and select “on behalf: or “in honor of” and add “INNOVATION” as the honorees name.

For more information, contact Joanna Sternberg, Director of Development at or 504.267.9526.