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Cultural Arts

New Orleans Opera

Opera in New Orleans is a long-established tradition and a favorite performing arts form for many generations, dating back more than 200 years. Today there are several performing arts organizations and smaller ensembles that stage opera in one form or another in and around the city throughout the year.

Opera performances in New Orleans

The first documented opera performance in New Orleans was staged on May 22, 1796 at a small theatre on St. Peter Street. Throughout the 1800s and early 1900s, New Orleans was "The Opera Capital of North America," especially after the opening of the French Opera House in 1859. Numerous operas by the great European master composers had their American premieres at the French Opera House or at one of the numerous other theatres around town.

After the French Opera House burned down in December 1919, operagoers in New Orleans were entertained by touring troupes and in 1943 the New Orleans Opera Association was founded and began staging productions. The New Orleans Opera Association continues to be the premiere presenting organization for opera in the Gulf South even today.

Other local companies and ensemble groups performing opera in the New Orleans area today include the Jefferson Performing Arts Society; Loyola University Opera Theatre; Bon Operatit!, a trio of fun classical singers; and Opera on Tap, an offshoot of the New Orleans Opera Association that features guest singers in an informal setting.

Check back shortly for a list of top opera performances for the upcoming cultural arts season. Also, be sure to check out our events calendar for the latest offerings in the city.

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