Cultural Arts Season in New Orleans
Opera, Ballet, Classical, Live Theatre Highlight Annual Cultural Calendar
The City of New Orleans' love affair with the cultural arts has a long and distinguished history, dating back to the earliest years of the French settlement in the 18th century. Few Western nations have a greater appreciation for live performance than France and, when they began colonizing the New World they imported their culture to our shores.
Opera, ballet, classical music and live theater were among the cultural gifts the French introduced to their former colony of La Nouvelle Orleans and these great traditions continue to this day. New Orleanians are among the nation's most avid culture aficionados in the Western Hemisphere, and they enthusiastically support the arts with constant sellout audiences and first-rate performance venues that are the pride of our many arts patrons.
While cultural events are offered year-round in New Orleans, the height of the the cultural arts season traditionally begins in September and runs through May of the following year. The Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra usually christens the season with live performances in September, along with some of the city's live theatres which may also stage shows that month. The season kicks into high gear by October when the New Orleans Opera Association and the New Orleans Ballet Association begin mounting their mainstage productions. The Opera Association puts on four major productions a year, with two performances of each opera, and the Ballet Association stages five major productions of one night each – occasionally, two. The Philharmonic and live theatres continue staging their performances throughout the season.
In recent years, live theatre and other special productions have begun filling gaps in the traditional summer hiatus, particularly at the local colleges and universities making cultural arts a year-round attraction. No matter what time of year you happen to be visiting, you can almost certainly count on something exciting going on that suits your artistic tastes.
Check back shortly for a list of top performances for the upcoming cultural arts season. Also, be sure to check out our events calendar for the latest offerings in the city.