Metropolitan Opera production of La Traviata. Photo: Jonathan Tichler / Met Opera.

Ciao, Opera Mavens and Happy New Year! Here are your January educational opera-tunities:

Exploring Opera: Intensive Traviata – Join Professor James Sokol in this class on Verdi’s masterpiece where you will discuss the words, explore the rich characters, then, hear how Verdi paints both so richly through glorious vocal and orchestral. Whether you are an opera newcomer or longtime fan, explore the depth of one of the world’s most popular and most accessible operas. Enrollment going on now through Jan 3. Fees, location, and registration info are in the link above. Mon Jan 7 – Feb 25 from 1 – 3pm

Metropolitan Opera Season, Part 2 – Instructor Diane Mauch leads this course on the five remaining Met Live in HD operas: Adriana LecouvreurCarmen, La Fille du Regiment, Die Walküre, and Les Dialogues des Carmelites. She will use CDs and DVDs to make vivid her exploration of the historical, musical, and theatrical high points of the operas. Whether you are a newcomer to opera or a veteran, here’s a chance to deepen your appreciation of the medium’s irresistible mix of music, drama, and visual splendor.
$60 for OLLI & Rossmoor Opera Club members / $90 for non-members
Wednesdays Jan 9 & 23, Feb 6 & 20, March 6 from 2 – 4pm
Creekside Clubhouse 1010 Stanley Dollar Dr., Walnut Creek

Opera: The First 150 Years – Instructor John Prescott leads this five-week course exploring the birth of opera in the intellectual salons of Florence to its spread to the major cities of Europe including the French court of Louis XIV and England. The social and historical phenomena of castrati will also be discussed along with the works of Monteverdi, Scarlatti, Purcell, Handel, and more. No previous musical experience is necessary. $95 Fri Jan 11 – Feb 8 from 1:30 – 3:30pm
Charney Hall, Room 103 Santa Clara Univ. 500 El Camino Real, Santa Clara

Vital Supporting Roles in Opera – This five-week course will examine the relationship, function, and contributions of the “second bananas” to plot and characterization in several of the most popular and some lesser- known operas of the 18th to 20th century, by Mozart, Verdi, Puccini, Bellini, Donizetti, Gounod, Bizet, and others. Arias, duets, ensembles, and scenes from relevant works will illustrate the importance of these roles dramatically and musically in the most complex and inclusive of art forms. $20 Thursday afternoons Jan 31, Feb 7, 21, 28, March 7 from 1 – 3pm
Peace United Church, 900 High St., Santa Cruz

Exploring Opera: Winter Met Live in HD Insights – Whether or not you plan to attend the fall Met HD broadcast performances, join instructor James Sokol for interesting insights into Cilea’s lush and tragic Adriana Lecouvreur, Bizet’s exciting and sensuous Carmen, and Donizetti’s delightful and comic La Fille du Regiment.  These classes are perfect for the opera newcomer and the long-time devotee.
$45 for the series of three. $20 each the day of. $18 each with advance registration.
Thursdays Jan 10, 31, Feb 28 from 1 – 3pm Osher Marin JCC 200 N. San Pedro Rd., San Rafael

Master Class with Soprano Patricia Racette (Adler 1990) *FREE*
Fri Jan 18 at 5pm SFCM Sol Joseph Recital Hall 50 Oak St., SF

Scholar Claudia Stevens joins the Wagner Society to give a talk on Wagner in the novels of E.M. Forster. Free for members, $10 for nonmembers. Sat Jan 19 at 1pm JCC-SF 3200 California St., SF

Afternoon at the Opera, Spring 2019 – On our operatic journey, you will enter the lives of a seductive and manipulative gypsy, an equally seductive “Don Juan” who boasts of his conquests, a young tomboy who’s the adoptee of an entire regiment of soldiers in the Swiss Alps, a Roman emperor who forgives his would-be assassins, a brave group of nuns who live in constant fear of the guillotine during the French Revolution, and a passionate German heroine who struggles with being half goddess and half human. Join in, if you dare! Opera novices welcome! $105
Monday afternoons, Jan 28 – Mar 25 from 2:30 – 4:40
San Mateo Senior Center 2645 Alameda de las Pulgas, San Mateo

Moby-Dick (Heggie) Preview – A one-hour presentation by General Director Larry Hancock including lecture and performances by OSJ artists.
Tues Jan 29 at 12noon San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art 560 S. First St., SJ

Prepare yourself for greater enjoyment of the upcoming Opera San Jose performances of Moby-Dick by Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer by attending one of Bradford Wade’s free 90-minute preview talks.
Wed Jan 30 from 7:30 – 9pm Law Offices of Sheppard Mullin, 379 Lytton Ave., Palo Alto
Thurs Jan 31 from 1:30 – 3pm Lafayette Library Arts & Sciences Room, 3491 Mt. Diablo Blvd, Lafayette
Mon Feb 4 from 7 – 8:30 pm GRA Room, The Terraces of Los Gatos, 800 Blossom Hill Rd., Los Gatos
Wed Feb 6 from 7 – 8:30 pm Italian-American Heritage Foundation, 425 N. Fourth St., SJ
If you would like to have dinner with the speaker before the Palo Alto talk, please RSVP with Jim Stauffer at If you would like more information on the lecture series or have dinner with the speaker before the Los Gatos talk, please RSVP with an e-mail to