Department of Diversity, Equity and Community Offers November Interactive Conversations: If Only They'd Written an Opera

Release date: 10/29/2021


DEC_events_November_2021.pdf  Photos

San Francisco Opera’s Department of Diversity, Equity and Community (DEC) has announced new Opera Aficionado online discussions in November on the topic of composers who, perhaps to the surprise of music fans, did not compose an opera. The sessions focus on the careers of composers Johann Sebastian Bach (November 7) and Florence Price (November 14) and those who focused on lieder (art song), such as Johannes Brahms, Gustav Mahler and Clara Schumann (November 21). Each live, 75-minute Opera Aficionado discussion offers music lovers around the world online access to scholarly talks and an opportunity to dialogue with fellow opera enthusiasts and special guests. Speakers in November are San Francisco Opera Dramaturg Emeritus Kip Cranna, musicologist Laura Prichard and Opera Aficionado host Cole Thomason-Redus.

For tickets and more information, visit


(programs subject to change)

We know their names; we love their music. And yet, we never talk about them in the opera world—because they never wrote an opera. This November, Opera Aficionado explores a handful of composers whose craft was made for storytelling but for various reasons did not compose for the operatic stage. From Bach to 20th-century composer Florence Price, and a sprinkling of German lieder, these are the composers of whom we say, “If only they’d written an opera!”

  • Sunday, November 7, 1 pm: Johann Sebastian Bach

Speaker: Kip Cranna

The incredible genius of Bach had a profound influence on almost all classical music that came after him, down to our own time. He created numerous masterpieces in many different genres—but not opera. San Francisco Opera Dramaturg Emeritus Kip Cranna will delve into the reason for that and explore video examples of Bach’s cantatas and oratorios to illustrate his gift for combining music and drama.

  • Sunday, November 14, 1 pm: Florence Price

Speakers: Laura Prichard

The modern rediscovery of American composer Florence Price began in 2009, when her musical manuscripts were discovered in an abandoned house in St. Anne, Illinois. Price had been a significant figure in the Chicago Black Renaissance, corresponding with many of the leading Black intelligentsia, including W. E. B. Du Bois and Langston Hughes, whose poetry she set to music. A musical prodigy, she enrolled at the New England Conservatory at the age of 14, becoming the first Black woman to have her work performed by a major orchestra (Chicago Symphony Orchestra). Join us for a deep dive into her moving, romantic scores (there are over 300!) and an exploration of the new chamber opera about her life (Florence Comes Home, 2019).

  • Sunday, November 21, 1 pm: Take Me to Your Lieder

Speaker: Cole Thomason-Redus

The Romantic era yielded a bounty of German composers whose works include some of the finest music ever written for the human voice. Orchestral tone poems of the time showed mastery of orchestration and attention to narrative. It was a century of storytelling. Join Cole Thomason-Redus for a survey of composers, including Johannes Brahms, Gustav Mahler and Clara Schumann, who preferred the salons and concert halls of 19th-century Europe to the operatic stage.

*For the complete press release, including cast and calendar, please view the attached PDF.