Friends of Education

“Consider the qualities … music has sharpened: collaboration, creativity, discipline and the capacity to reconcile conflicting ideas. Music may not make you a genius … but it helps train you to think differently, to process different points of viewand most importantly, to take pleasure in listening.”  Joanne Lipman, The New York Times
A key component of San Francisco Opera’s mission is taking a leadership role in artistic training, arts education, and audience development. As such, San Francisco Opera Education strives not only to meet the needs of those who want to learn about opera, but also to help shape the general education experience through the prism of opera. As demand for these programs grows, and as San Francisco Opera seeks to enrich a greater number of lives through them, the need for designated support is even more pronounced.


  “In America, we do not reserve arts education for privileged students or the elite. Children from disadvantaged backgrounds, students who are English language learners, and students with disabilities often do not get the enrichment experiences of affluent students anywhere except at school.”  Arne Duncan, Secretary, U.S. Department of Education

Friends of Education is a new funding program that invites donors to become engaged in the many facets of San Francisco Opera Education: including school partnerships, family activities, and adult programs. 

By becoming a Friend of Education, your gift—at any level—helps the Company further its outreach, grow its programs and ensure that arts education for all ages thrives in the Bay Area and surrounding communities. 

And there’s no better time to make such a gift because the Richard and Elizabeth Fullerton Family Foundation has provided a generous challenge grant so that any new or increased contribution made before July 31, 2014 and designated to Friends of Education will be matched dollar-for-dollar. 

In addition to the knowledge that you are empowering educators and students alike, you will enjoy regular San Francisco Opera member benefits at the corresponding levels, as well as a customized experience related to Education activities.
View the impact of your contribution in the classroom and in the community.

Interested in becoming a Friend of Education? Explore the different giving levels by viewing Friends of Education Sponsorship Levels.


“Opera is eclectic, with applications for other kinds of arts and many areas of study.  Twenty-first century skills require thinking out of the box, solving problems, working together—all of this, and more, happens on the opera stage.”  Susan Stauter, Artistic Director, San Francisco Unified School District

San Francisco Opera Education offers a range of educational opportunities for students of all ages.

Opera in the Classroom

Opera Arts Resources in Action, or ARIA, is San Francisco Opera’s suite of K-12 education programs that integrate learning about opera into the classroom.  Programs range from the comprehensive ARIA Network program to university partnerships. Each program also provides significant professional development opportunities for educators.  Did you know?

Lifelong Learning at the Opera

Adults and families can choose from a myriad of educational activities that further link participants with the operatic art form, through family movie screenings, pre-performance lectures, or interactive workshops.

Follow along every step of the way with Impact by the Numbers and see the difference that San Francisco Opera Education makes, from the classroom to the Opera House, and beyond! For full program descriptions, please see the San Francisco Opera Education Programs Overview.


ARIA Education Brochure
Empowering Student Creativity

Notes from the General Director, November 2013
“As far as I’m concerned the sky is the limit when it comes to our opera education programs.” – David Gockley, General Director, San Francisco Opera 

Behind the Curtain
Catch up on the Spring 2012 issue of San Francisco Opera’s donor newsletter featuring Education.

Find out what others are saying about San Francisco Opera Education!

“The Opera’s programs stand out for their depth.  We get professionals at the top of their game working directly with our kids to help them learn the skills needed to create their own work.” – Susan Stauter, Artistic Director, SFUSD

“This year we created a mini-opera set during the American Revolution.  No lecture by me could have given students the depth of understanding that they gained through their own, self-guided research.  I cannot imagine teaching without ARIA.” – Emily Dahm, 5th Grade Teacher, West Portal Elementary School, SFUSD

“My experience at the opera was very good and suspenseful, it had you on the edge of your seat!” – Antinique Montgomery, Student, Mission High School, SFUSD

“Last year we attended Carmen for Families and one girl, who is at risk of falling in with gangs, told me, ‘José didn’t have to kill Carmen.  He could have made a different choice.’  She got that from the opera.” – Sylvia Lindsey, Board Member, San Francisco Opera

“The Opera’s ARIA Network Professional Development program is unparalleled in the breadth and depth of training for teachers and teaching artists.” – Andi Wong, 6th grade teacher, Rooftop Elementary Alternative School

“It’s easier than we think to engage a young person with opera.  And when we do, it can be pure magic! ” – Vivian Stephenson, Board Member, San Francisco Opera

“It was so much fun that after the 4 sessions were over, we were ‘lost’ on what to do on Monday nights.” – Past participant of Overture Adult Workshop

"I've been a season ticket holder for many years.  The operas I saw subsequent to class were MUCH enriched.  I can't wait to see Tosca next week even though I have seen it at SF Opera before!" – Past participant of Overture Adult Workshop

Program support for the 2012-13 San Francisco Opera Education Department’s school programs has been provided by Lead Sponsor Union Bank. Additional support has been provided by the Bank of America Foundation, Columbia Foundation, Robert and Laura Cory, Gap Foundation, the William Randolph Hearst Foundation, the Michelson Family Foundation, UBS, Wells Fargo, and the Zellerbach Family Foundation.

Contact Us

Friends of Education
(415) 565-3225
San Francisco Opera
301 Van Ness Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94102

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