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

Learn more about each opera's composer and librettist and historical and musical context at one of Guild's special Opera Previews.  These 90-minute sessions feature noted musicologists, composers, librettists, and singers and are sponsored by the Bay Area's Opera Guild Chapters (East Bay, Marin, Peninsula, and San Francisco) and the San Jose Opera Guild.  Each session is illustrated by audio and visual examples and includes a question-and-answer and discussion period.

Overture: Opera Workshops for Adults

San Francisco Opera's Education Department conducts interactive workshops about different aspects of opera throughout the year. Tickets for our fall series are now available.  For more information, click here.

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.