State of the Arts: The 2018-19 New Orleans Cultural Arts Season Preview

09:30 November 15, 2018
By: Dean Shapiro

New Orleans may be best-known worldwide for jazz, hip hop, rock, and other genres of popular music, but those are not the only forms of live entertainment out there. Our 300-year-old city was a thriving cultural arts center long before these other musical art forms came into being, and it still is! Dozens of organizations that present opera, dance, classical music, and live theater occupy a parallel universe, bringing culture and enjoyment to New Orleanians and our visitors year-round.

The following is a compilation of many of the productions being staged by some of New Orleans’s premiere presenting organizations who are offering three or more performances during the 2018-19 Cultural Season:

State of the Arts: The 2018-19 Cultural Arts Season Preview

New Orleans Opera Association

Following a precedent established during last season’s 75th anniversary, the New Orleans Opera Association again takes productions out into the community with performances set for Le Petit Theatre and the Marigny Opera House, in addition to three mainstage productions at the Mahalia Jackson Theater for the Performing Arts. Evening and daytime matinee options are offered for all shows.

All mainstage operas are accompanied by the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Maestro Robert Lyall. They are presented in their original languages with English translations projected above the stage.

The Abduction from the Seraglio (in German)
Composer: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Mahalia Jackson Theater
February 8 and 10

The Blind (in English)
Composer: Lera Auerbach
Marigny Opera House, 725 St. Ferdinand St.
April 5-7

Rigoletto (in Italian)
Composer: Giuseppe Verdi
Mahalia Jackson Theater
April 26 and 28

All opera performances are at 8 p.m. For tickets and more detailed information, call New Orleans Opera at (504) 529-3000 or 529-2278 or check them out online at 

Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra (LPO)

Celebrating its 25th-anniversary last season with a triumphant debut at New York City’s renowned Carnegie Hall, the 70-member LPO once again presents an exciting, concert-filled schedule in 2018-19 at the historic Orpheum Theater in Downtown New Orleans (129 Roosevelt Way).

Here are some of the highlights of the upcoming season at the Orpheum:

State of the Arts: The 2018-19 Cultural Arts Season Preview

Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition and Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with Anne-Marie McDermott: November 29

Holiday Spectacular with the 610 Stompers: December 8

Elgar’s Cello Concerto in E Minor and Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade: January 10 and 12

Jaws: Film with Live Orchestra: January 19 (at Mahalia Jackson Theater, 1419 Basin St.)

Visions of Vienna and Salzburg: Music of Mozart and the Strausses: February 14

Bach’s St. John Passion with Loyola Chorale and NOVA Voce: March 28

Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7: April 11 and 13

Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring and Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No. 3: May 16 and 18 (season finale)

Most concerts are conducted by Maestro Carlos Miguel Prieto, but guest conductors are also called in during the season. 

Several “Family Concerts” are held at Loyola University’s Louis J. Roussel Performance Hall (6363 St. Charles Ave.), and other LPO concerts are held in Jefferson and St. Tammany parishes. For a complete LPO season schedule, call (504) 523-6350 or visit 

New Orleans Ballet Association

State of the Arts: The 2018-19 Cultural Arts Season Preview

NOBA celebrates its 50th anniversary this season with the return of three of the most prestigious companies that have performed in New Orleans in recent years, plus a Golden Anniversary “Evening of Stars,” featuring some of the leading dancers on the contemporary scene (names to be announced later).

50th Anniversary Evening of Stars
Mahalia Jackson Theater; January 26 (time and cast TBA)

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
Mahalia Jackson Theater; March 22 and 23, 8 p.m.

Body Traffic
NOCCA’s Freda Lupin Memorial Hall
2800 Chartres St.; April 5, 8 p.m., and April 6, 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. 

For tickets and information, call (504) 522-0996 or visit their website at Single tickets may also be purchased through Ticketmaster by calling 1-800-745-3000 or visiting

Broadway in New Orleans

Hamilton, the winner of 11 Tony Awards for 2016 and one of the top-grossing Broadway productions of all time, comes to the stage of the Saenger Theatre for 25 performances this season, along with eight other touring hit musicals from the Great White Way.

State of the Arts: The 2018-19 Cultural Arts Season Preview

On Your Feet: November 27-December 2

Elf the Musical: December 18-23

Les Miserables*: January 8-13

The Book of Mormon: February 5-10

Hamilton: March 12-31

Cinderella*: April 12-14

Come from Away: May 28-June 2

* Season Option; not included in regular ticket subscription package.

The Saenger is located at 1111 Canal St. in the heart of Downtown New Orleans. Show times vary. For more detailed information, visit or call 1-800-218-SHOW (7469).

Le Petit Theatre

Founded in 1916 and opening in its present location in 1922, Le Petit, America’s oldest continually operating community theater, presents another varied lineup of classics and newer works, including its traditional hosting of a play during the annual Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival. The theater is in the heart of the French Quarter at 616 St. Peter St., opposite Jackson Square and the Cabildo.

State of the Arts: The 2018-19 Cultural Arts Season Preview

A Christmas Carol
By Charles Dickens; Director: Maxwell Williams
December 7-23

A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder
By Robert L. Freedman and Steven Lutvak
January 18-February 3

Baby Doll
(Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival feature)
Adapted by Pierre Laville and Emily Mann
March 15-31 

The Pianist of Willesden Lane
By Mona Golabek
May 10-26\

For tickets and information, call the box office at (504) 522-2081 or visit

Southern Rep Theatre

After enduring a nomadic existence for nearly a decade, Southern Rep moves into its new permanent home in the former St. Rose of Lima Church at 2541 Bayou Rd. in the fall of 2018. Celebrating the occasion, Southern Rep will continue its time-honored, founding tradition of premiering original works by local playwrights and regional premieres of other contemporary plays, as well as its popular, ongoing soap opera, Debauchery. 

State of the Arts: The 2018-19 Cultural Arts Season Preview

Mandatory Merriment: An Untitled Holiday Musical
By Leslie Castay and Ian Hoch
Directed by Leslie Castay
November 28-December 23

The Wolves
By Sarah DeLappe
Directed by Aimée Hayes
January 9-February 3

Azul (Blue)
By Christina Quintana
Directed by Estefanía Fadul
March 27-April 14
(a project of the Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival)

Flowers for Halie (a Mahalia Jackson tribute)
Written by and starring Troi Bechet
May 8-26

For more detailed information and tickets, call (504) 522-6545 or visit

Jefferson Performing Arts Society

JPAS goes into its 41st season of bringing top-flight entertainment to the Greater New Orleans area. They will be presenting three mainstage productions at the Jefferson Performing Arts Center (JPAC), 6600 Airline Dr. in Metairie, and three shows at their Westbank venues, the Westwego Performing Arts Theater (WPAT) and Teatro Wego (TW) at 177 Sala Ave. in Westwego. 

State of the Arts: The 2018-19 Cultural Arts Season Preview

The Santaland Diaries: November 30-December 23, TW

White Christmas: December 7-16, JPAC

Dream Girls: February 8-24, JPAC

How to Kill a Diva: May 24-June 9, WPAT

For ticket information or other show details, call (504) 885-2000 or visit the JPAS website at

Rivertown Theaters for the Performing Arts

Located in the Rivertown section of Kenner, the Rivertown Theaters are under the management of Theatre 13, celebrating the 10th year since its founding by longtime actor/director Gary Rucker and performer/choreographer Kelly Fouchi. The theaters are located at 325 Minor St. in Kenner.

State of the Arts: The 2018-19 Cultural Arts Season Preview

Gone Pecans: November 2-18

Let it Snow: December 7-23

Greater Tuna: January 11-27

Into the Woods: March 13-31

Me and My Girl: May 3-19

Mamma Mia!: July 11-21

For tickets and other information, visit Theatre 13 at their website,, or call (504) 461-9475. 

The NOLA Project

State of the Arts: The 2018-19 Cultural Arts Season Preview

The NOLA Project, going into its 14th season, is a theatrical ensemble company consisting of about two dozen local actors who “strive to challenge, entertain, and engage diverse audiences through high-quality and innovative performances of relevant great works and the development and production of new plays.” The company performs in various venues throughout New Orleans during the season.

Stockholm Syndrome
By Adam Szymkowicz 
Little Gem Saloon, 445 S. Rampart St.
January 16-February 9 

The Henchman: A Shakespeare Story
By Michael Aaron Santos 
Besthoff Sculpture Garden, New Orleans Museum of Art, City Park
May 8-26

For more detailed information about NOLA Project and its productions, go to

Marigny Opera Ballet

State of the Arts: The 2018-19 Cultural Arts Season Preview

Now into its fifth season, Marigny Opera Ballet will be staging three productions between early November 2018 and late March 2019. The company features nearly all local dancers, choreographers, and musicians and specializes in premiering or restaging original works by local artists and directors. 

Pierrot Lunaire and Querelle (premieres)
Pierrot Lunaire Choreography: Rebecca Allen
Composer: Arnold Schoenberg
Music: Phyllis Treigle (soprano) and New Resonance Chamber Orchestra
Querelle Choreography: Diogo de Lima
Music: Byron Asher
Both shows are January 17-20

Book of Saints
Choreography: Teresa Fellion
Composer: Tucker Fuller
Music: New Resonance Chamber Orchestra and Krewe de Voix Vocal Ensemble
March 21-24

All performances are staged at the Marigny Opera House (MOH), 725 St. Ferdinand St. In addition to these three dance productions, MOH also presents other types of performances and concerts throughout the year, some of which are free with donations encouraged. For more information and tickets, call (504) 948-9998 or visit

New Orleans Friends of Music (NOFOM)

State of the Arts: The 2018-19 Cultural Arts Season Preview

New Orleans Friends of Music goes into its 64th season of staging and promoting chamber music by offering seven concerts featuring a stellar roster of world-class musicians and ensembles, as well as some younger emerging musicians. 

Benjamin Appl, Baritone: January 16

Lera Auerbach, Piano: February 5

Pavel Haas String Quartet: March 13

Windsync: April 1

Ebene String Quartet: April 30

All NOFOM concerts are held in Tulane University’s Dixon Concert Hall (33 Audubon Blvd.), starting at 7:30 p.m. For more information and tickets go to

Opera Creole

An all-African American choral ensemble that was co-founded by New Orleans Opera Chorus members Givonna Joseph and Aria Mason, Opera Creole presents works by 19th- and early-20th- century Creole composers, plus their own original works.

Catholic Sisters in Education
Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos Parish, 3037 Dauphine St.
November 25, 5 p.m.

Luna Fete Holiday Celebration 2018
Sound Collage at the Jazz Museum
Old U.S. Mint, 400 Esplanade Ave.
December 5-7

For more information, visit

Opus Opera

Founded several years ago by New Orleans native and internationally renowned tenor Bryan Hymel, his soprano wife Irini Kyriakidou, and two other singers, Opus Opera “strives to create new and exciting artistic experiences by pairing vocal music with other creative art forms in order to brush off some of the stuffiness that plagues much of the classical art world.”

Fleur des Femmes (songs and paintings)
WYES Innovation Center
916 Navarre Ave.
November 18, 7 p.m.

Pergolesi's “Stabat Mater”
Trinity Episcopal Church
1329 Jackson Ave.
April 14, 5 p.m.

The Return of “Mystique!” (opera and circus)
Civic Theatre
510 O’Keefe Ave.
May 18, 7 p.m.

For more information, visit 

Other Performing Arts Organizations

There are numerous other performing arts organizations in New Orleans whose full schedules were not finalized in time to be included here. Below, listed alphabetically, is a handy list of some of those organizations, along with their websites, on which their schedules might now be posted.

Art Klub:   

Ashe Cultural Arts Center:

Contemporary Arts Center: 

Lyrica Baroque:  


Musical Arts Society of New Orleans: 

New Orleans Civic Symphony: 

New Orleans Vocal Arts (NOVA) Chorale: 

New Orleans Volunteer Orchestra: 

Symphony Chorus of New Orleans: 

Tennessee Williams Theatre Company of New Orleans:  

Trinity Artist Series: 

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