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.
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.
BOTH EVENTS ARE FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC
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.