Frances Rabalais
(She/Her) Director, librettist, combat/period movement/intimacy specialist.
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Frances Rabalais

Frances is an opera director known for her highly emotional and evocative stagings of classic operatic repertoire and new opera works alike. Currently based in Houston, she has directed for New Orleans Opera, North Carolina Opera, the Fort Wayne Philharmonic, Opera Omaha, Pensacola Opera, and Tri-Cities Opera, and Pittsburgh Opera. She has been an assistant director at Houston Grand Opera, Opera Colorado, Washington National Opera, Opera Omaha, Des Moines Metro Opera, Cincinnati Opera, and Wolf Trap Opera, among others. Recently, Frances has expanded her collaborations with developing singers in educational settings. She has been visiting dramatic coach for Rice University, where she will return in early 2023 to direct a scenes program. Frances directed The Barber of Seville for Brevard Opera in the summer of 2022. She offers workshops on the basics of stage combat, intimacy, the neurology of acting, period movement, and other topics that can be suited to work with the needs of a university of educational program. Stemming from her childhood interest in cool swords, Frances is a certified Actor Combatant with the Society of American Fight Directors in three weapons and theatrical firearms. Her level 1 certification with Intimacy Directors and Choreographers will be completed by the end of 2022. Frances passionately believes that good art comes from safe and healthy performers working in safe and healthy spaces. Ms. Rabalais is also a dialect coach focusing on American Southern accents. Her speciality is south Louisiana and is available to coach for roles in Dead Man Walking and Streetcar Named Desire. Frances is also a librettist. During the shutdown of 2020, Frances completed the text for "The Storyville Songs", a dramatic song cycle intended for 2 singers, narrator, and jazz ensemble. The piece focuses on the day-to-day lives of sex workers in the legal red light district of New Orleans. The search for a composer and funding is currently ongoing. She also enjoys working as "libretto doctor" contributing to in-progress operas and dramatic works as editor and helpful giver of feedback. Ms. Rabalais started off as a singer, making the transition to directing near the end of her time earning her undergraduate degree from Louisiana State University. While Frances is very sure that she will not be returning to perform on the operatic stage, she has often gotten feedback from the singers she works with that they enjoy working with someone who has "been there".