The New Orleans Opera Association, founded in 1943, is the premiere presenting organization for opera in the Gulf South. The company produces four mainstage operas a year usually with two performances of each.
In addition to planning, producing, and presenting some of the highest caliber productions of opera in the region, The New Orleans Opera Association is also responsible for providing a variety of opera education programs that includes live performance in area schools, a local student matinee of a mainstage operatic production, free public performances, and opera education lectures. A number of additional programs and events have also been developed by the Association that are designed to foster a greater awareness of opera. One of these is the highly successful Opera on Tap program which offers free performances to the public in an informal setting such as a local pub or brewery.
About the Operas
Operas staged by the New Orleans Opera Association are nearly always sung in the original language of the composer with English supertitles (translations) projected above the stage. The major languages of most operas in the standard repertoire are Italian, French, German and English, plus a few in other languages like Czech, Russian and Spanish. New Orleans Opera Association usually presents 19th and early 20th century "classics" that most regular operagoers are familiar with. However, in recent years, the company has also offered some newer works that have never been performed here before, including several English-language operas by American composers.
Featured roles in most New Orleans Opera productions are usually contracted with singers who are from other parts of the country or from other countries, but sometimes a lead role will go to a New Orleans-based singer. Local singers are often featured in lesser roles or in the New Orleans Opera Chorus, an ensemble of 115 men and women in all voice categories who appear on stage in costumes and sing during large group scenes. Non-singing "extras" (supernumeraries) may also appear on stage in costume to give a period ambience to a production.
Opera Season and Events
Of the season's four mainstage productions, two are staged in the fall â€“ usually October and November â€“ and the other two in the spring, which can range from January through April, depending on theater availability. Opera seasons for the coming year are usually announced within the first month or two of each calendar year. For more information about the upcoming opera season and specific events offered by the New Orleans Opera Association, visit our New Orleans Opera page.