Education and Outreach

Making opera enjoyable and accessible to audiences of all ages is an important part of the Opera Southwest mission. A variety of programs, all of them infused with our passion for live opera, serves Albuquerque’s children, youths and adults. Offerings range from introducing opera to those who have never experienced it to – for the avid fan – enhancing the experience of enjoying the unamplified, classically trained voice.

We invite you to participate in our educational programs and improve your own opera experience!

Family Opera – opera to be shared with young and old

Opera Southwest’s most ambitious educational program is finding and then producing an opera written for children and their families. Every three years, the company sponsors a national competition; the winning score is commissioned in the first year and performed for the next three. The opera must tell a meaningful story with important lessons for the audience. Also, it must incorporate serious but accessible orchestral music, strong professional singing, and quality sets, costumes and staging. Opera Southwest provides free buses to schools, and 3,000 – 5,000 Albuquerque children experience real opera each year at no cost to the school or the child.

In 2011-2012, Ethan Frederick Green’s A Way Home was the winning opera. It depicts the timely and relevant tale of a young girl finding and accepting her multi-cultural roots. Sponsored by the Brabson Library and Educational Foundation, the opera was received this past season by enthusiastic audiences. It will be performed again during the 2012-2013 season at the Journal Theatre of the National Hispanic Cultural Center.

Pre-Performance Talks – learn what to listen and look for

About 45 minutes prior to the start of each performance, Maestro Anthony Barrese presents a 20-minute introduction that prepares ticketholders to better enjoy the opera. These pre-performance talks are held in one of the small theatres adjacent to the Journal Theatre; look for the sign or inquire at the box office.

Music! Words! Opera! — especially for schools

An educational program created by Opera America, the national opera service organization, the in-school curriculum inspires creative, critical thinking by elementary, middle and high school students. In Albuquerque, the program is being presented through a collaboration between Opera Southwest, the Albuquerque Public Schools and the City of Albuquerque. In 2011-2012 the program was launched at selected elementary schools; it will expand to more schools during the 2012-2013 school year. Music! Words! Opera! was created by a team of psychologists, musicologists, literary scholars, professional educators and opera professionals.

Pizza in the Pit – learn how an opera is produced and performed

This fun, informative event offers a tour of the Journal Theatre of the National Hispanic Cultural Center, a talk by Opera Southwest’s Artistic Director and Principal Conductor in the orchestra pit, demonstrations by the professional staff and crew – and of course, pizza! This event is available to members of the Opera Southwest Ruby Society and as a raffle prize at our annual Gala.