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Givonna Joseph

Founder | Artistic Director


Ms. Joseph is committed to the culture of New Orleans, the city of her birth. This is most evident in her research on 19th-century classical music of New Orleans's Free People of Color.

As Founder and Artistic Director of the award-winning OperaCréole,

Ms. Joseph’s research has recently been featured on NBC Nightly News, NPR, and in magazines such as 64 Parishes and Atlas Obscura. She was previously honored as a "Standard Bearer " of Louisiana culture on Le Grand Tour, a documentary for French TV, and locally on Music Inside Out. She was featured in cover articles in BreakThru Media Magazine and NOLA Boomers magazine.


Since 2011, Ms Joseph, along with her daughter, Aria Mason, OperaCréole co-founder, has received awards for mounting lost or rarely heard operas by composers of color such as Samuel Coleridge Taylor's Thelma, Williams Grant Still's Minette Fontaine, Scott Joplin's Treemonisha, Lucien Lambert’s La Flamenca, and her original opera The Lions of Reconstruction: From Black Codes to the Ballot Box, written to celebrate New Orleans’ Tricentennial.

As a soloist, Ms Joseph was last seen as Sister Marie Josephine Charles in Les Lions de la Reconstruction, the original production she wrote for New Orleans Tricentennial. She sang the roles of Leonor in our La Flamenca and Marie Laveau in our 2015 production of Minette Fontaine. She also sang the role of Sylvia in the production of Wading Home, an opera of New Orleans written by Mary Alice Rich and Rosalyn Story of Dallas, TX. She was the alto soloist for Messiah with the Symphony Chorus of New Orleans at the Orpheum Theater. She sang the role of Gudrun in our 2012 production of Samuel Coleridge Taylor's lost opera Thelma.

Givonna has had featured roles in many New Orleans Opera Productions. These include Lily in two New Orleans Opera's Porgy and Bess productions, She was a member of the professional Opera Chorus for many years.

The former Education Director for the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra was most recently featured in many educational documentaries, including Dillard University's Ray Charles Center for Material Culture's Legacy of American Slavery, Nous Foundation's Voices of Renewal, and on the recently released CD and documentary Songs of Slavery and Emancipation, speaking the Creole lyrics of Quarra Saint Malo about Jean Saint Malo's 1783 Louisiana slave revolt.

The national lecturer also teaches a class for Loyola's College of Music and Media called Opera, Classical Music, and Race and private voice lessons. Givonna is also an Arts Integration Specialist, working with organizations such as Young Audiences, Make Music NOLA, and The Ellis Marsalis Center for Music

Ms. Joseph has performed in concert at such venues as The American Church In Paris in Paris, France and La Chiesa di Santa Susanna in Rome, Italy. She has been a soloist with the William Grant Still Orchestra and served as a cantor for Blessed Teresa of Calcutta's New Orleans visit. In the 2006-2007 season, she was a chorister with Houston Grand Opera. The creator of "WomanSong," a one-woman show, she was also heard as an opening artist for Ray Charles in concert at Jones Hall in Houston, TX.

Ms. Joseph, a Loyola University alumna in Voice and Music Therapy, has studied voice with Charles Paddock, Philip and Ellen Frohnmeyer, George Shirley (Metropolitan Opera, U. of Michigan), Patricia O'Neil (LSU), and Kathleen Kaun (Rice U.).

Givonna has served her community on the Boards of The New Orleans Opera Association (Diversity Committee and Advisory Board,) LA Creole (Louisiana Creole Research Association), and Alliance Française.  She currently serves as a working member of the New Orleans Tourism and Culture Fund (NOTCF), the Board of the Symphony Chorus of New Orleans,  the  Membership Council for Opera America,

and as a mentor coach for The NAACP-ACT-SO competition.


Ms. Joseph received the Torchbearers Award from the New Orleans Regional Chapter of The National Coalition of 100 Black Women in 2022 and has previously received awards from other organizations, such as CAAPA, LA Creole, The Black Chorale, and more.

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