Opera In Schools

San Francisco Opera and the San Francisco Opera Guild both provide programs for K-12 classrooms and educators.  Please choose a link below to learn more about these opportunities to connect opera education to your curriculum. 

San Francisco Opera K-12 Programs: Opera ARIA (Arts Resources in Action)


San Francisco Opera Guild Programs



San Francisco Opera K-12 Programs: Opera ARIA (Arts Resources in Action)

After a semester of investigation into the needs of the school community and a semester of pilot testing, in 2009 San Francisco Opera launched its groundbreaking Opera ARIA programs, aimed at connecting professional artistic and creative elements of opera with classroom curricula. With a methodology focused on empowering educators to work with both the Opera and their own colleagues to develop curriculum connections, and connections to the California State Arts and Academic Standards, the Opera ARIA programs all stem from three key principles:

  1. a sustained, multi-step partnership between educators and an Opera teaching artist,
  2. a high level of flexibility for the educators, in content and curricular connections, and
  3. in-depth professional development for all participating educators.

ARIA Network (Grades K-8)
The Opera ARIA Network applies the ARIA principles in an environment of long-term, collective, cross-school learning. Classroom teachers participate in extensive professional development and collaborate with Opera Teaching Artists to connect San Francisco Opera resources to their curriculum over the course of one or more semesters.

ARIA Residency (Grades K-8)
The Opera ARIA Residency program focuses on connecting one artistic and creative element of opera with classroom curricula.

ARIA VAPA Mini-Residency (Grades 6-12)
The Opera ARIA VAPA Mini-Residency is a Middle and High School program that focuses on connecting one artistic and creative element of opera with arts instruction, connecting the professional Opera Company to the School arts classroom.

PEAK (Practicing Everyday Arts Knowledge-Grades 9-12)
San Francisco Opera’s High School program, PEAK, integrates opera’s multi-disciplinary characteristics into a cross-subject curriculum, utilizing a specific opera as a prism to explore the connection of a number of subjects to a single artwork.

ARIA Professional Development for Educators Course and Dress Rehearsal Program (Grades 3-18)
San Francisco Opera recognizes that many educators value having access to resources and knowledge in order to bring opera into their classroom. The Opera offers K-18 educators a series of Professional Development sessions aimed at providing tools to connect the study of opera to their classroom curricula/syllabi. Each session focuses on the study of opera in general and a specific SF Opera production in particular, in preparation for attending a Final Dress Rehearsal.

To learn more about all the Opera ARIA programs, please click here.

For more information, or to be added to our mailing list, please contact the San Francisco Education Department at education@sfopera.com or at 415-551-6296.

Support for the 2013-2014 San Francisco Opera Education Department’s ARIA (Arts Resources In Action) school programs has been provided by our lead sponsor Union Bank. Additional program support also generously provided by the George T. Cameron Educational Foundation, Robert and Laura Cory, Kristina Flanagan, Richard and Elizabeth Fullerton Family Foundation, Gap Foundation, Kaiser Permanente; Loomis, Sayles & Company, LP; the Michelson Family Foundation, Wells Fargo and Zellerbach Family Foundation.


Union Bank


San Francisco Opera Guild Programs

Give Voice to Potential!
To make it easier to help you choose the programs that are right for your students and curriculum, we have organized our programs into four streams. Our Sing with Us classes give children their first taste of opera, our Create with Us composition programs cultivate confidence and collaboration, our Come to the Theatre programs immerse students in the physical world of the opera and our Perform with Us offering put students front and center. For more information contact the Opera Guild. 


Sing a Story (Grades K-3)
Unleash the imaginations of your youngest students in this award-winning program that brings a professional artist right into your classroom! After the musical telling of a classic opera story tailored to grades K-3, the artist magically unveils props and costumes, and leads the entire class in acting out the story and singing excerpts.

Touring Show: Flute for Two (Grades K-5)
In this interactive assembly version of our popular Sing a Story program, a team of two artists leads ten student volunteers in enacting The Magic Flute, complete with costumes and props. The entire audience learns about the elements of opera and participates in the chorus.

Opera à la Carte (Grades 4-8)
In this signature program that serves more than 100 Bay Area schools each year, students have the opportunity to perform alongside a troupe of professional artists in a rousing 45-minute adaptation of Mozart’s beloved The Magic Flute. Masterfully designed for young audiences, the English-language production features four professional singers, a pianist and docent who, along with your students, bring the wonder of opera to life in your school. Students prepare brief speaking roles in advance, are guided by artists in a final dress rehearsal and, with props, scenery and specially-designed costumes, perform for the entire school community. Schools may also choose to involve a chorus, giving additional students a chance to perform.


Book to Bravo & Voices for Social Justice (Grades 4-12)
These inspiring 12-week residencies bring out the creative artist in each student. Teams of two teaching artists partner with classroom teachers to cultivate students’ understanding of literature or social issues, and to guide them in expressing their interpretations through original songs and dialogue. Students rehearse and present their creations in culminating performances as they build self-confidence and gain skills in writing, composing, singing, acting, production and teamwork. In Book to Bravo!, students use interpretive skills and their own imaginative voices to bring literary selections to life. In Voices for Social Justice, issues of concern in students’ lives and society at large serve as the inspiration for personal and moving music theatre projects. Students create original narratives to dramatize current and historical events and add the power of music in a culminating performance for peers, teachers and parents.


Summer Conservatory (Ages 10-18)
The Summer Conservatory offers students instruction in opera, theatre, musical theatre, dance, and all other artistic components. Students meet six hours a day, five days a week for three weeks. Each Summer Conservatory day consists of classes in voice, theory, movement, language, music and theatre history, acting, technical theatre, and much more. The program culminates in the students applying the skills they've learned in the rehearsal and performance of an opera. This program also includes a free ticket to a Student Dress Rehearsal at the Opera House.


Madeleine H. Russell High School Night at the Opera (Grades 9-12)
In association with San Francisco Opera Education, this is an event exclusively for Bay Area high school students. It compliments our Student Dress Rehearsal program with an evening of social activities, culture and careers in performing arts.

Student Dress Rehearsals (Grades 4-12) San Francisco Opera Guild has sponsored student rehearsals and matinees since 1939. Students attend final dress rehearsals for a selection of main stage productions, an exciting opportunity to watch major artists at work. Sung in the original languages with projected English translations and performed with full production values, these dress rehearsals provide high-level theatrical experiences and offer behind-the-scenes glimpses of the rehearsal process.

Opera House Tours (Grades 4-12)
There’s more than just opera history that imbues the War Memorial Opera House. Students will also learn about historical events such the signing of the United Nations Charter and the memorial service for Harvey Milk.