About Us

  • General Director's Welcome
  • Staff
  • Board of Directors
  • Mission & History
  • Past Productions

Welcome to Opéra Louisiane, the Capital City’s Opera Company, where our singers are world class, our performances are breathtaking, and our supporters are incredible! Join us for one of our passionate performances and you’ll see why so many people love opera. It will move you to tears, make your heart beat fast, and bring you to your feet. There’s nothing quite so powerful as hearing singers use their voices to the greatest capacity. No microphone necessary, no auto tune, just the pure, human voice, unamplified.

As a singer, keeping opera alive is important to me, and Opéra Louisiane allows me to play a role in that mission. I grew up in a small town in central Virginia. I listened primarily to country music growing up, and my grandmother taught me to play the piano. Like most children, I hated to practice! In sixth grade, Virginia Opera’s educational program came to our school. The group performed opera favorites and changed characters by pulling hats out of a box. I sat mesmerized by what I heard and saw. I was hooked. It would take me another ten years or so to really find the courage to pursue my operatic dream, but there is no doubt that those singers planted the seed. This is why I am so passionate about Opéra Louisiane and especially about our Young People’s Opera Program. It is a crucial tool for expanding the minds of our school children.

There are so many wonderful things that I would like to share about Opéra Louisiane, but here are the important historical highlights. This company is the result of a true visionary and some very hard workers. Our Founder and Past General and Artistic Director of Opéra Louisiane, Robert Grayson had the vision for professional opera in Baton Rouge. Co-founder Amanda Vincent recognized the need for an educational program and worked hand in hand with Mayor-President Kip Holden to create the Young People’s Opera Program. Since 2008, we have provided free opera and educational tools to over 35,000 students! Opera provides employment for musicians, designers, directors as well over 25 theatre professionals each year. Thanks to Russ and Melanie Chapman, Opéra Louisiane has an Endowment, started with their gift in 2016. As with all non-profits, Opéra Louisiane relies heavily on a board of directors; volunteers who oversee the operation of the company and fundraise the funds it requires to produce professional opera. The following individuals have served as Board Chair: Carole Marshall, Sue Rainer, Ken Nelson, Todd Schexnayder, Russ Chapman, Susan Leake and most recently, Monique Scott Spaulding. Our current board chair is Sean Matassa, a singer, dedicated board member and businessman.

I am so fortunate to work with the incredibly talented Michael Borowitz, our Artistic Director and Conductor. Michael brings a level of professionalism to Opéra Louisiane that is unsurpassed. His knowledge and experience allows us to attract top level singers, build an outstanding orchestra, and present varied productions such as a two hour adaptation of Wagner’s Ring Cycle and a full scale production of Bizet’s Carmen. Michael is truly a gift to this city!

Give opera a try. Put aside those stereotypes and experience for yourself the passion of the human voice. Join us!

Leanne P. Clement, DMA
General Director, Opéra Louisiane

Leanne Clement
General Director
leanne@operalouisiane.com

Dr. Leanne Clement is a graduate of The School of Music at Louisiana State University, where she received her Doctor of Musical Arts and Master of Music degrees in vocal performance. While at LSU she was awarded the School of Music Foundation Scholarship, the Mrs. Dorothy Halphen Kolb Scholarship from the Baton Rouge Opera Guild, and was a member of Pi Kappa Lambda, the music honor society. She also was co-founder of the LOOP or LSU Opera Outreach Program that provided performances to local elementary schools.

Prior to moving to Louisiana, Leanne received her Bachelor of Arts in English from the College of William and Mary in Virginia. As a mezzo-soprano, Leanne performs the dramatic character roles of Verdi and Wagner. During her tenure at Opéra Louisiane, Leanne has performed the roles of Erda in Michael Borowitz’s reduction of Wagner’s Ring Cycle, Martha in Faust and as a soloist in the 10th Anniversary Gala. She has also directed performances of L’elisir d’amore, Falstaff, and The Ring.

Leanne began work with Opéra Louisiane in the fall of 2008, was promoted to Director of Development in 2009 and hired as General Director in 2011, where she remains today. During her time with Opéra Louisiane, the company has quadrupled in size and has remained debt free. Leanne is thrilled to work with an incredible staff and board of directors promoting opera in South Louisiana!

 

Michael Borowitz
Artistic Director
mborowitz@lsu.edu

Conductor and pianist Michael Borowitz has served as Music Director for Opéra Louisiane since the 2012-13 season.  Borowitz is also Music Director of LSU Opera. For nine years he was Artistic Director of Nevada Opera, and for five seasons he was Music Director for Ohio Light Opera. Borowitz has been a guest conductor for Des Moines Metro Opera, Opera Delaware, Baltimore Concert Opera, Pensacola Opera, AVA Ballet, Eastman School of Music, Opera Idaho, Opera Southwest, Rimrock Opera, Opera Columbus, The Reno Philharmonic and the LSU Symphony Orchestra, as well as assistant conductor with The Metropolitan Opera, Indianapolis Opera and Cleveland Opera. His current recordings (all on the Albany label) include Offenbach’s Bluebeard, Kern’s The Cabaret Girl, Herbert’s Mlle. Modiste (also released on DVD by Operetta Archives), and Gilbert and Sullivan’s Ruddigore and Patience.

 

Sinella Aghasi
Associate Director
admin@operalouisiane.com

Dr. Sinella Aghasi is an arts administrator, educator, and a violinist. She holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Louisiana State University, Master of Music from San Francisco State University, and Bachelor of music education and violin performance from California State University Stanislaus.

As an arts advocate, Dr. Aghasi is committed to making Classical music relevant and accessible and bringing it to a diverse community. In her role as Associate Director of Opéra Louisiane, she is proud to take part in bringing professional opera to Baton Rouge and opening a door for thousands of students to experience an opera for the first time in their lives.

As an active performer, Dr. Aghasi plays with several local orchestras, such as Opéra Louisiane, Baton Rouge Symphony, Acadiana Symphony, Rapides Symphony, Lake Charles Symphony, and Gulf Coast Symphony. In addition to her love for performance, Dr. Aghasi’s passion for music education has never stopped growing. She has been a teaching artist at San Francisco Symphony’s Education Department, Modesto Symphony Youth Orchestra, and Kids’ Orchestra.

 

Michelle Nguyen
Marketing Assistant
marketing@operalouisiane.com

Michelle Nguyen is a graduate of LSU with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Digital Art. She has worked with Opéra Louisiane since February 2018. At Opéra Louisiane she manages the website, creates Facebook posts, email blasts, newsletters, and much of the graphic design that you see online and at Opéra Louisiane events.

She previously worked with Country Day School as a teacher. In 2016-2017, she was employed with LASM as a Tour Guide & Floater. During her college education she worked at Hill Memorial Library as a student worker. She scanned/edited documents for the Free People of Color Project and assisted in microfilm for local newspapers. Today she continues to practice photography, graphic design, and animation. 

Sean Matassa – Chair – Financial Advisor, Edward Jones
Bettsie Baker Miller – Chair-Elect – Owner, BBM Consulting; Community Volunteer; BREC Commissioner
Alex Tucker – Treasurer and Finance Chair – Faulk & Winkler, CPA
Dr. Ed Green – Secretary – Chemist, ExxonMobil, retired
Monique Scott-Spaulding – Immediate Past Chair – Jani-King

Kathy Baker – Assistant to the Executive Vice President, Executive Hotel Management, owner of Crowne Plaza Baton Rouge and Holiday Inn Baton Rouge
Dr. Thomas R. Beard – Professor emeritus of economics, LSU
Carolyn Bennett – Marketing Chair – Foundation for Historical Louisiana, emerita
James C. Brandt – Brandt and Associates
Michael R. Calabrese – Senior Vice President at Cajun Industries, LLC
Kris Cangelosi – Cangelosi Dance Project
Marie Constantin – Owner Marie Constantin Photography
Jon Emerson – Professor of Landscape and Design, retired
Dr. Warren Fraser – Endocrinologist and endocrine consultant
Dr. Bill Gallmann – MD, Radiologist
Dr. Evelyn K. Hayes – MD
Dr. Holley Galland Haymaker – MD, Consultant, CAHSD School Based Program, retired
Helen Hoffpauir – Mark A. O’Neal and Associates
Jim Jackson – Jackson Land Company
John Jackson – Managing Partner, Jackson Land Company
David Kelly – Attorney, Partner, Breazeale, Sachse & Wilson, LLP
Kim Kochurka Shaw – Education Chair – Director of Human Resources, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana
Stafford Wood – Founder and Owner of Covalent Logic

Beth Courtney; President and CEO, Louisiana Public Broadcasting
Cordell Haymon; Vice President, Louisiana Law Institute; Vice President, SGS Petroleum Service Corporation
Dr. Howard Kisner; Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center
Timothy Muffitt; Music Director, Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra
Freddie Pitcher; Past Chancellor, Southern University Law Center; Judge, retired
Harvey Schwartzberg; Treasurer, Foundation for Historic Louisiana & The Old State Capitol Associates
John Turner; Past President, Baton Rouge Area Volunteers for Opera; Board, Houston Grand Opera; Turner Industries
Amanda M. Vincent; Past Director of Development, Opéra Louisiane
Dr. Richard Webb; Past Dean, Southern University College of Arts and Humanities, retired

Opéra Louisiane presents high quality, professional operatic performances, showcasing internationally acclaimed talent for:

  • Culturally enriching our community
  • Educating our school children
  • Providing professional performance opportunities for Louisiana artists.

Opéra Louisiane will be a regionally recognized, financially viable, professional opera company showcasing internationally acclaimed talent and providing career opportunities for Louisiana artists.

Opéra Louisiane holds itself accountable to the highest standards of integrity, quality, and professionalism.

Opéra Louisiane was founded by Robert Grayson and Amanda Martin Vincent in March of 2007 with a few simple goals in mind: to produce opera performances of the highest level in Louisiana’s capital city, to offer a Young People’s opera free to school children every year, to utilize the great musical and artistic talent of Louisiana singers alongside professional musicians with international acclaim. Shortly after its inception, Opéra Louisiane and LPB produced the Opéra Louisiane Gala concert featuring international opera stars at the Baton Rouge River Center. In the fall of 2008 Opéra Louisiane, through a generous grant from Mayor Kip Holden and the City Parish of East Baton Rouge and other significant sponsors including the Pennington Foundation, The Arts Council of Baton Rouge and the Baton Rouge Area Foundation, produced its first Young People’s Opera, Mozart’s The Magic Flute. These productions remain successful, allowing over 37,000 Baton Rouge area 4th , 5th and 6th graders to see a fully staged opera over the past seven years. Opéra Louisiane, through its Young People’s Opera Program and outreach events, endeavors to help fulfill the need for music programs in schools that have been cut due to budget constraints. Along with our focus on education, Opéra Louisiane strives to offer performances of the highest quality featuring professional artists from Louisiana and beyond. In 2013, Opéra Louisiane offered a full production of Elixir of Love at the Baton Rouge River Center, complete with an international cast of singers, Opéra Lousiane’s Community Chorus, a full orchestra, grand sets and colorful costumes. The performance of Elixir marked the first time in over a decade that Baton Rouge has seen a professional opera production of this magnitude in our own city. In 2015, grand opera returned to Baton Rouge with Madama Butterfly at the Baton Rouge River Center Theatre. In 2019, Opéra Louisiane presented two sold out performances of Carmen at the Manship Theater at Shaw Center for the Arts and instituted the High School Opera Initiative, aimed at providing access to opera to students from economically disadvantaged communities. The Lunch with Leanne series, established in 2013, gives audience members the opportunity to experience a concert in an intimate setting and meet the artist afterwards. Opéra Louisiane presents two major fundraisers each year, the Opéra Summer Soirée in August and Sing and Swing, a celebrity karaoke competition. Over the past twelve years, Opéra Louisiane has hired over 320 local musicians, provided work for more than 100 Louisiana theater professionals, brought 36 opera stars with international reputations to Baton Rouge, and sold over 25,000 tickets. As the Capital City’s Opera Company Opéra Louisiane is educating, entertaining and employing. Since 2011, Opéra Louisiane’s budget has quadrupled and the company remains a debt free organization.

“The arts are essential to the economic growth of every vibrant Metropolitan city.
Opéra Louisiane provides a piece that is missing from the arts portfolio of Baton Rouge.”
-John Davies, Baton Rouge Area Foundation

Opening Night
Cinderella
Amahl and the Night Visitors
Sing and Swing Fundraiser
Lunch with Leanne

Opening Night
Hansel and Gretel
Amahl and the Night Visitors
Sing and Swing Fundraiser
Carmen, Program
Lunch with Leanne

Drama Queens, Opening Night Concert
The Magic Flute
H.M.S Pinafore
Sing and Swing Fundraiser
Lunch with Leanne

Opening Night: Act Two
Cinderella
Ulysses: An American Mythology
10th Anniversary Gala
Lunch with Leanne

Baritones on the Bayou
Hansel and Gretel
Valentine’s Concert
The Pirates of Penzance
Lunch with Leanne

Lunch with Leanne
The Magic Flute
Madama Butterfly

The Ring
Cinderella
CHORUS!
Die Fledermaus

Feast with Falstaff
Hansel and Gretel
The Best of Opera and Broadway
The Elixir of Love

Fête with Faust
The Magic Flute
Amahl and the Night Visitors
Chanson d’Amour
CHORUS!

The Barber of Seville
Chanson d’Amour
Rosanna/ Bastien et Bastienne
All That Jazz 2

Brings Out the Stars
Hansel and Gretel
Lucas Meachem in Concert
All That Jazz

The Magic Flute
Paul Groves in Concert
Opéra Louisiane Young Artists

Opéra Louisiane Opening Gala
Lisette Oropesa in Concert
Mozartiana