Adult Programs

One of the ways to ensure a wonderful opera-going experience is to learn about the opera's story, characters and music and to understand its composer, context, and history. San Francisco Opera and Opera Guild provide learning opportunities via the following Lectures, Workshops and Symposia.

Click the title to see the specifics for each program.

Pre-Opera Talks

Prior to every opera performance listen to charismatic music scholars present a 25-minute overview of the opera, with insights on the music, composer and historical background. Opera Talks, provided by San Francisco Opera, are free to ticketholders and take place in the main theater in the Orchestra section 55 minutes prior to curtain. Enhance your experience by attending Opera Talks, whether you're a newcomer, opera aficionado or anywhere in between.

Insight Panels

Renowned artists and personalities from the world of opera share their insights and experiences during informal panel discussions. Insights, presented by the San Francisco Opera Guild, are held on specific dates from 6 pm to 7 pm.

Opera Previews: In-Depth Explorations

Expand your horizons! Presented by a variety of exciting and renowned experts -- scholars, librettists, directors, critics and more -- these sessions are illustrated both musically and visually and dig into the background and meaning of each opera -- its creation, the times which formed it, its performance details and even its absurdities. Designed to stimulate both beginners and long-term opera addicts, Opera Previews also enable audiences to question and discuss the ideas presented. Sponsored by San Francisco Opera Guild’s chapters (East Bay, Marin, Peninsula, and San Francisco) and by the San Jose Opera Guild.

Overture: Opera Workshops for Adults

San Francisco Opera's Education Department conducts interactive workshops about different aspects of opera throughout the year.  Sign up for our email newsletter to receive updates.  

Opera Appreciation Courses at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music

Opera Appreciation Courses are offered through the San Francisco Conservatory of Music's Adult Extension Division. Taught by San Francisco Opera's Director of Music Administration, Clifford (Kip) Cranna, these classes will give you deeper insight into the history of opera.

Opera House and Backstage Tours

Trained Guild volunteer docents lead groups through the War Memorial Opera House describing its architecture, construction, recent renovations, colorful history, and performance highlights. Your tour will take you through the boxes, auditorium and backstage areas, Wig and Makeup department and other areas as available.