George Washington had just begun his second term when opera began in New Orleans. During its heyday in the mid-to-late 1800s, the city enjoyed a reputation as the Opera Capital of North America with sumptuous productions in the French Opera House.
The Opera House burned down in 1919 and for nearly a quarter of a century the city depended in touring productions for its opera fix. The city finally re-established a permanent company, the New Orleans Opera Association, in 1943. Virtually every opera legend performed there in succeeding years as the company sometimes staged as many as eight productions each year.
Today New Orleans continues to attract big names as it produces four operas annually, two in the fall and two in the spring. Its offerings include Wagner’s mammoth Ring Cycle (currently three-fourths complete) and a number of lesser-known works.
MetroPelican Opera, the company’s education/outreach arm, tours schools in Louisiana as well as neighboring Texas and Mississippi. New Orleans Opera became the first franchisee of Opera on Tap, featuring top young talent in non-traditional venues such as bars and steamboats.
New Orleans Opera Association Information
- Public Transportation: Poor
- Handicapped Accessibility: Good
- Performances/Programs: Approximately 4 productions per season, with 2 performances of each.
- Ticket Prices: Individual tickets are $20-100, depending on event and seating choice. Students with ID receive 10% discount, and student rush tickets (50% off) may be purchased 30 minutes prior to showtime if seating is available.
- Group Discounts: 10% discounts for groups of 10-19, 15% groups of 20-29. Larger groups may contact NOOA for rates.
- Subscriptions: Season subscriptions available for $70-200.