Ciao, Opera Mavens! Here are your educational opera-tunities for the month:

Wagner in Popular Culture with Adrian Daub, Professor of German Studies and Comparative Literature at Stanford University. Free for members, $10 for nonmembers.
Sat Feb 3 at 1pm JCC-SF 3200 California St., SF

Bless Me, Ultima: Adapting One Art Form Into Another – In this forum discussion, Héctor Armienta will talk about Bless Me, Ultima the opera he created based on Rudolfo Anaya’s novel. Which themes did he incorporate or leave out of his libretto? Are the themes of destiny, power of the natural world, and balance/imbalance incorporated into the libretto, and if so, how? *FREE*
Tues Feb 6 from 12 – 1pm Stanford University – El Centro Chicano y Latino 514 Lasuen Mall, Stanford

Opera Against All Odds: Making It Work in San Jose – OSJ General Director Larry Hancock will talk about how Opera San Jose has managed to survive – even thrive – in a very competitive environment where the San Jose Symphony and the San Jose Repertory theatre company failed. This conversation should be of interest to everyone who is interested in the arts scene in the Bay Area. Fee: $25
Fri Feb 9 from 2 – 4pm Sobrato Hall, Rooms B & C Santa Clara Univ. 500 El Camino Real, Santa Clara

Celebrating Great Scenes from Favorite Operas – Led by Miriam Ellis, Ph.D., this five-week class puts the spotlight on various unforgettable scenes in opera – their structure, function, and, above all, musical and dramatic impact. Participants will look at excerpts from a group of popular operas to analyze what had made them and certain of their scenes endure over time and discuss why certain arias or ensemble pieces are so beloved among opera buffs.  The course will also note those scenes that have been adopted into popular culture by film, ads, or the media. Fee: $20
Mon Feb 5 – Mar 5 from 1 – 3pm  Peace United Church, 900 High St., Santa Cruz

The Slow but Triumphant Path of the African American Opera Singer – The glass ceiling for women singers was shattered in 1961 with the Met debut of Leontyne Price. Other talented sopranos and mezzos followed, but where were the men? Only since the turn of this century, when colorblind casting became frequent, have superb tenors such as Lawrence Brownlee or Russell Thomas been given the roles they deserved. In this lecture, Speight Jenkins, General Director of Seattle Opera – Emeritus will lead you down the successful paths of these and other African American opera singers, with examples of what we missed and what we have recently gained. Tues Feb 13 at 7:30pm *FREE; no registration required*

Sunday with the Divas – Four divas. One stage. Opera legends Marilyn Horne, Patricia Racette (Adler 1990), Deborah Voigt (Adler 1987), and Frederica von Stade muse on their careers—and the opera world—serving up anecdotes and discussing the art to which they have dedicated their lives. Taking the form of an informal conversation, this rare meeting of world-class singers offers insight and perspective with a personal touch. Tickets: $50 – $100
Sun Feb 25 at 3pm Nourse Theatre 275 Hayes St., SF

The Romantic Spirit in European Opera – Led by UCSB Professor Emeritus Simon Williams, this course will explore how Romanticism changed European opera. You will initially examine the Romantic movement itself, identifying such important matters as the rise of individualism, the obsession with the Gothic, the spread of revolutionary ideology, the intoxication of Romantic love, the worship of nature, and the idealization of the Medieval world, and then consider how these themes came to be incorporated into opera, which led to a transformation of the entire genre. Registration open now.
April 20 – 23 Evergreen Conference Center, Oakhurst, CA