Ciao, Opera Mavens and Happy Holidays! Here are your educational opera-tunities for December:

Hands On History: Girls (and Some Guys) of the Golden West – Join the archivists of the San Francisco History Center in exploring the background for Girls of the Golden West with a close-up show-and-tell of the materials from the Center’s collection. Selections will include the earliest printing of the Dame Shirley Letters; an issue of the SF Daily Herald published June 1850; daguerreotypes dating from the 1850s; and other artifacts. The event is *FREE* and is limited to 30 attendees, so advance reservations are encouraged.  Sat Dec 2 from 2 – 3:30pm SFPL Main Branch 100 Larkin St., SF

Opera on the Couch – An insightful discussion on the psychological perspective of Girls of the Golden West will be led by Milton Schaefer, PhD and Reyna Cowan, PsyD, LCSW from the San Francisco Center for Psychoanalysis. *FREE*  Sun Dec 10 at 5:30pm Books, Inc. Opera Plaza 601 Van Ness Ave., SF

All About Turandot – Delve into the opera Turandot through music, story and movement during these interactive workshops for families with children age 6 and older. Learn about the original Persian fairy tale and traditional art that inspired Puccini to set his opera in China. Explore why artist David Hockney chose to design a production rooted in fantasy rather than cultural reality.  All children must be accompanied by parents or guardians.; $10/person
Sun Dec 3 at 11am & 12:30pm Wilsey Center for Opera, Veterans Bldng, 4th Floor 401 Van Ness Ave., SF

First Act: Hansel and Gretel – Journey through Engelbert Humperdinck’s delightful children’s opera and meet new characters, learn music and play games along the way while exploring music, rhythm, visual arts and movement. These workshops for families with children ages 3–6 are designed to foster social-emotional development, increased language, and fine-gross motor skills.  All children must be accompanied by parents or guardians. $10/person.
Sat Dec 9 at 10am & 11:30am Wilsey Center for Opera, Veterans Bldng, 4th Floor 401 Van Ness Ave., SF

Lecture series run by Larry Oppenheim, former President and current co-principal oboe and solo English horn for the Kensington Symphony Orchestra (East Bay). 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!
The Flying Dutchman (Wagner) – Sun Dec 3 from 3 – 4pm SFPL Noe Valley Branch 451 Jersey St., SF

Verdi: Opera’s Greatest Melodist – Led by Speight Jenkins, General Director of Seattle Opera – Emeritus, this course will discuss how Verdi developed his use of every voice type, always moving closer to his goal of a complete artwork. Over five weeks, you will explore Verdi’s operas from his first, Oberto, to his last, Falstaff, illustrating how even a genius can grow and still retain the popular touch.
Registration opens Dec 4; tuition and more info at the link above.
Monday evenings Jan 22 – Feb 26 from 7 – 8:50pm