Overture Workshops for Adults: How Opera Comes to Life

Series of four workshops exploring opera creation.

Whether you are a seasoned opera-goer or a newcomer, our Overture Workshops for Adults are the perfect way to learn about opera and deepen your experience.

San Francisco Opera experts lead these interactive workshops. With behind-the-scenes access and an intimate setting, you get a firsthand look at how operas are created.


Opera aficionados, the opera-curious and everyone in-between!


Mondays, September 25–October 23, 2017 from 7–9pm
Please note that there is no workshop on October 9 due to the holiday.


Chorus Room
War Memorial Opera House
301 Van Ness Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94102


$110 per person for the entire series.

session 1

Telling the Story: Writers and Composers

Monday, September 25, 2017 at 7PM

At the heart of every opera is a story. This session, led by Kip Cranna, San Francisco Opera's Dramaturg, explores how stories from source materials like books or plays are transformed into words that lend themselves to melody and rhythm. You'll even have a chance to write a short libretto (the opera text) yourself!

Session 2

Performing: Singers and Orchestra

Monday, October 2, 2017 at 7PM

Now that we have words and music, we need performers to sing and play them! An Adler Fellow will perform an aria and talk to us about the career of an opera singer. Then Sheri Greenawald, Director of the San Francisco Opera Center, will lead you in physical and vocal warm-ups to demonstrate how singers use their bodies to project their voices to the furthest corners of an opera house.

Session 3

Designing and Building: Sets, Props and Costumes

Monday, October 16, 2017 at 7PM

What would an opera be without dazzling sets, props, lights, makeup, wigs and costumes? During this crash course, San Francisco Opera Production Department staff members will share how they create multiple worlds on a single stage. We’ll examine the process of stagecraft from design to construction, learn how lighting changes everything and find out how these masters juggle several performances at the same time. Featured guests include Master of Properties Lori Harrison, Costume Department Senior Production Supervisor Kristi Johnson and more.

Session 4

Assembling the Pieces: Stage Director

Monday, October 23, 2017 at 7PM

Who brings all the elements together into one cohesive performance? The director! In this session with San Francisco Opera stage director Jose Maria Condemi, we'll learn about how directors work with the conductor, the performers and the production team. You'll also take part in some theatrical exercises related to characterization.

A limited number of discounted tickets are available for students or individuals in need. Email education@sfopera.com or call (415) 551-6294 if you have any questions.