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

Ninety-minute sessions by noted musicologists, composers, librettists, and singers, locally sponsored by SF Opera Guild Chapters and the San Jose Opera Guild. These special events explore each opera’s historical and musical context as well as musical and dramatic challenges. Every session is illustrated by audio & visual examples and includes a question & answer and discussion period.
Don Giovanni with Dr. Bruce Lamott, Director of the Philharmonia Chorale

SF CHAPTER: Tues May 30 at 12noon FREE
Koret Auditorium, SF Public Library Main Branch 100 Larkin St., SF

SAN JOSE OPERA GUILD: Wed May 31 at 10am
FREE to SJOG and JCC members, $10 for others
Addison-Penzak JCC Silicon Valley, 14855 Oka Rd., Ste 201, Los Gatos

EAST BAY CHAPTER: Wed May 31 at 8pm; $10
Lafayette Library & Learning Center, 3491 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Lafayette

MARIN CHAPTER: Thurs June 1 at 7:30pm; $10
The Redwoods, 40 Camino Alto, Mill Valley

PENINSULA CHAPTER: Thurs June 1 at 10am; $10
First Presbyterian Church of Palo Alto, 1140 Cowper St., Palo Alto

Opera History Course – With OSJ General Director Larry Hancock as the instructor, this popular 6-week course covers 400 years of opera development including the development and changes in the choice of opera subjects, the use of poetry and dialogue in the libretto, styles of musical composition, evolution of the opera orchestra, and changes in performance practice period by period. Each quick-paced session will be enhanced with visuals from other art forms, including fashion, architecture, painting, and sculpture, bringing a more complete knowledge of the society that influenced its composers. $100; call the box office at (408) 437-4450 to register.
Wed nights May 31 – July 5 from 7 – 9pm Opera San Jose HQ, 2149 Paragon Dr., SJ

Opera: The First 150 Years – Join instructor John Prescott in this six-week course exploring the birth of opera in the intellectual salons of Florence as an attempt to revive Greek drama. Other topics will include the differences in the way opera was written and performed in other parts of Europe including Venice, the French court of Louis XIV and England. The social and historical phenomena of early opera’s use of castrati will also be discussed along with the works of Monteverdi, Scarlatti, Purcell, Handel, and more. No previous musical experience is necessary. $95
Friday afternooons, June 9 – July 14 from 1 – 3pm
SFSU Downtown Campus 835 Market St. Room 677, SF

First Act: The Little Prince – Join us as we discover Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s fantasy opera The Little Prince. In this workshop we’ll explore music, rhythm, visual arts and movement designed to foster social-emotional development, increased language and fine-gross motor skills. $10; A limited number of discounted tickets are available for families in need, click on the link above for more info.
Sat June 10 at 11:30am Bryan Education Studio – Wilsey Center for Opera 4th Floor, Veterans Building 401 Van Ness Ave., SF

Opera for Our Time: Bringing New Works to Life – SF Opera’s longtime dramaturg Kip Cranna has managed the commissioning of more than 20 new operas, including Harvey Milk, A Streetcar Named Desire, Dead Man Walking, Appomattox, Dream of the Red Chamber, and the upcoming Girls of the Golden West.  Join him for an insider’s viewpoint—with video examples—as he explores the thriving world of contemporary American opera and offers behind-the-scenes tales of how new operas are born.
$20 non-members, $8 members, $7 students (with valid ID)
Wed June 14  5:30pm reception; 6pm program Commonwealth Club, 555 Post St, SF

Merola Opera: Sparking the FutureJean Kellogg, Merola’s executive director, will trace the program’s history, providing photographs, anecdotes and a preview of Merola’s 60th Anniversary Summer Festival. Come learn about this unique Bay Area opera company that proves opera is thriving. $20 non-members, $8 members, $7 students (with valid ID)
Thurs June 29  11:30am reception; 12noon program Commonwealth Club 555 Post St., SF

Lecture series run by Larry Oppenheim, former president of the Kensington Symphony Orchestra (East Bay) and current co-principal oboe and solo English horn. Larry’s goal is to make opera more enjoyable and accessible to “all the people”; attend the lecture and then go see the opera with your newfound knowledge!
Don Giovanni (Mozart) – Don Giovanni is opera’s ultimate anti-hero. He’s seductive and cruel, dashing and depraved, funny and exasperating and courageous to the end. Larry’s lecture will also include excerpts featuring the great Cesare Siepi.
Wed June 14 from 6:30 – 7:30pm SFPL West Portal Branch, 190 Lenox Way, SF

Wagner Heroes, Then and Now – “Take a good look at Wotan,” Wagner tells us, “He is us!” What is a hero? Who are our heroes? Who are the heroes of the Ring, and how did they change over the course of composition? What is the meaning of Wagner’s Free Hero? Desirée Mays will discuss Wagner’s heroes from tragic to romantic, their mission, their meaning, and their relevance both in the Ring cycle and to us today. Free for members, $10 for nonmembers.  Sat June 17 at 1pm JCC-SF 3200 California St., SF

Great Opera Performances – What does it take to make an unforgettable opera performance? A combination of superb singers, a dynamic conductor, plus a thought-provoking, intelligent production accomplishes this feat. Since 1944, Speight Jenkins has attended well over a thousand opera performances, and only a few have had all of these vital ingredients. Through live recordings and photographs, along with Jenkins’ recollections, these rare, special performances will be the subject of this course. Performances will include Boris Godunov with Ezio Pinza, Wieland Wagner’s Bayreuth Parsifal, Tristan und Isolde with Birgit Nilsson, Otello with Placido Domingo, I Puritani with Lawrence Brownlee, Stephen Wadsworth’s production of Der Ring des Nibelungen, and more. $240; Registration now open!  Mon June 26 – July 31 (no class July 3) from 7 – 8:50pm Stanford University Campus

Exploration Workshop: All About La Boheme – Step into 19th-century Paris and meet the bohemians from Puccini’s celebrated opera! Experience the drama and romance of the main characters’ unconventional, artistic lifestyles through song, movement and storytelling during this interactive workshop for families with children ages 7 and older. Tickets are $10 per person (scholarships available). Both adults and children must have a ticket to attend. Sun July 2 from 11am – 12noon or 12:30 – 1:30pm
Bryan Education Studio – Wilsey Center for Opera 4th Floor, Veterans Building 401 Van Ness Ave., SF