Overture Workshops

Are you curious about opera but unsure where to start? Ever wonder how a soprano makes that incredible sound, or how sets magically change from one act to the next? Get answers to these questions and more in our interactive workshops. From words to music, costumes to staging, novices and mavens alike will learn how operas are created and experience San Francisco Opera behind the scenes.

"Knowing the work that goes behind the scenes only increased the magic." - Past Overture Participant

San Francisco Overture Workshops
Mondays, September 21, 28, October 5 and 12, 2015

Time: 7-9pm

Location: Chorus Room, War Memorial Opera House
Enter through the North Stage Door at Franklin and Fulton Streets 
Directions & Parking

Cost: $80 for the four-class series, $25 for individual sessions (plus $12 registration fee)

To buy tickets, call the Opera Box Office at 415-864-3330.  You can also visit the Box Office at 301 Van Ness Avenue.  Box Office hours are M 10am-5pm, T-Sa 10am-6pm (Saturday phones only).

Doors open at 6:30pm.  Beverages and light snacks will be served.  You can also bring your own food.  Please wear comfortable clothes and shoes.

Participants are required to sign up for all four sessions. You don't need any prior knowledge of opera; the content is engaging for people of all experience levels, from beginner to expert.  Overture is intended for adults age 18 and over.  The workshops are interactive and consist of lively discussions and activities rather than lectures. 

Session Descriptions

Telling the Story

September 21, 2015, 7-9pm
At the heart of every opera is a story. In this session Kip Cranna, San Francisco Opera's Dramaturg, explains how source materials like books or plays are transformed into words that lend themselves to melody and rhythm. You'll write a short libretto (lyrics),  then hear three composers set your words to music!

Advanced Reading Material 


September 28, 2015, 7-9pm
Now that we have words and music, we need performers to bring them to life! A singer will perform and talk to us about his or her career. Sheri Greenawald will lead us through a vocal lesson. And we'll hear from orchestra members about how they help tell the story of an opera.

Want to perform on the War Memorial Opera House stage?  Apply to be a supernumerary!

Designing and Building

October 5, 2015, 7-9pm
During this crash course, San Francisco Opera Production Department staff members will share how they create enchanting effects that transport you to another world.  If you've ever wanted to go backstage at the Opera House, this is your chance!

Want to spend more time backstage?  Check out these tours of the War Memorial Opera House. 

Assembling the Pieces

October 12, 2015, 7-9pm
All these elements unite under the guiding hand of a stage director. Roy Rallo will talk about how he strives to create the ultimate dramatic effect. And you'll rehearse some scenes to experience firsthand how a director collaborates with performers. 

Photo: The Barber of Seville/Cory Weaver.