Department of Diversity, Equity and Community Offers New Live Online Conversations

Release date: 3/1/2022


 March 6-27: The Human Voice, a Human Instrument

April 3-24: From Page to Stage

DEC_events_March_April_2022.pdf  Photos

San Francisco Opera’s Department of Diversity, Equity and Community (DEC) presents Opera Aficionado live online discussions in March and April on the topics of the human voice and adaptions in opera.

The March sessions on voice focus on vocal technique (March 6), operatic divas (March 13), countertenors (March 20) and bel canto (March 27). Librettos and opera source material will be the topics of discussion in April: a conversation with librettist Gene Scheer (April 3), opera literary adaptations (April 10) and the origin story behind Bizet’s Carmen (April 24).

Each live, 75-minute Opera Aficionado discussion offers music lovers online access to scholarly talks and an opportunity to dialogue with fellow opera enthusiasts and special guests. Speakers in March and April are librettist Gene Scheer, soprano and former director of San Francisco Opera Center Sheri Greenawald, San Francisco Opera Dramaturg Emeritus Kip Cranna, dramaturg Cori Ellison, countertenor Albert Montañez, San Francisco Opera librarian Michael Bragg, musicologist Laura Prichard and Opera Aficionado host Cole Thomason-Redus.

For tickets and more information, visit



(programs subject to change)

Just how does an opera singer make their sound? What’s the difference between one iconic voice or another? These questions and more will be answered as we spend the month of March exploring a very human instrument. Join Opera Aficionado host Cole-Thomason-Redus, San Francisco Opera Dramaturg Emeritus Kip Cranna and returning speakers Sheri Greenawald, Cori Ellison and Albert Montañez for a series of conversations about the most essential ingredient in any opera—the human voice.

  • Sunday, March 6, 1 pm: It’s All About Technique

Speakers: Sheri Greenawald and Kip Cranna

Operatic soprano and former director of San Francisco Opera Center Sheri Greenawald joins San Francisco Opera Dramaturg Emeritus Kip Cranna for discussion and demonstrations of the science and technique behind the glorious singing that gives opera its unique and dramatic sound. Bring your own voice along and you, too, may end up sounding like an opera star!

  • Sunday, March 13, 1 pm: Diva vs. Diva

Speaker: Cori Ellison

For opera fans, what’s more fun than a heated debate over the comparative merits of your favorite singers, living or dead? Join dramaturg Cori Ellison and your fellow Aficionados as we take this tussle into cyberspace. And in this Zoom democracy, you’ll get to air your two cents and vote.

  • Sunday, March 20, 1 pm: The Countertenor

Speaker: Albert Montañez

From Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice to Philip Glass’ Akhnaten, the concept of men singing within and even above the range of their female counterparts has often seemed mysterious and exotic. Countertenor Albert Montañez returns to Opera Aficionado to discuss, explore and shed light upon this vocal enigma and the numerous gems that exist within the repertoire.

  • Sunday, March 27, 1 pm: Bel Canto on Fire

Speaker: Cole Thomason-Redus

The Italian words bel canto literally translate to beautiful singing. But the beauty of the human voice sometimes takes second place to the abilities of the instrument. Join Opera Aficionado host Cole Thomason-Redus for a survey of some of the most demanding moments in the operatic repertoire. Presenting excerpts from Handel to John Adams, you’ll be left wondering, “How do they do that?”


(programs subject to change)

Musical notes bring singers to the stage, but how do the words they are singing come into play? The familiar faces of returning speakers along with librettist Gene Scheer join Opera Aficionado this April to explore the many ways in which stories travel from page to stage.

  • Sunday, April 3, 1 pm: The Wonderful Life of a Librettist

Speakers: Gene Scheer and Kip Cranna

Librettist, composer and songwriter Gene Scheer has brought stories old and new to the opera world, including our very own 2016 co-production of Jake Heggie’s It’s a Wonderful Life. Join San Francisco Opera Dramaturg Emeritus Kip Cranna as he interviews Scheer to discuss how writers and composers work together to create new operas.

  • Sunday, April 10, 1 pm: Books That Sing: Operas Based on Great Novels

Speakers: Kip Cranna and Michael Bragg

San Francisco Opera Dramaturg Emeritus Kip Cranna and Opera Librarian Michael Bragg team up to discuss passages from great and important novels and analyze video from corresponding opera scenes, illustrating the fascinating dynamics of transformation from a literary masterpiece to a successful opera. As composers reimagine the works of major authors, intriguing things can happen!

  • Sunday, April 24, 1 pm: The Origin Story of Carmen

Speaker: Laura Prichard

Bizet’s Carmen reigns as one of the most performed and beloved operas across the world. But did you know . . . its story started out as diary entries and rewritten local news clips? Join returning speaker Laura Prichard as she takes us beyond the bullrings and Habaneras, into the true story of a passionate and strong woman named Carmen.

*For the complete press release, please view the attached PDF.