Opera Conversations are interactive sessions for life-long learners of all backgrounds. The program makes opera approachable to people with no previous knowledge, while also challenging opera fans to consider fresh perspectives on familiar themes. Our partner organizations provide venues and select topics from PBO’s expanding library of Conversations. PBO staff members facilitate, using a variety of multi-media resources—including clips from PBO’s productions and performances— illustrate, enrich, and stimulate discussions.
The format of each event is flexible and customizable, with priority placed on tailoring the topic to the organization’s needs, and casting the spotlight on participants’ thoughts and insights. Sessions may be traditional lectures followed by a question-and-answer period. Conversations may also take the form of interactive seminars, book club-style discussions, dramatic libretto readings, or panel quiz shows. Access to preparatory reading, viewing, or listening excerpts with study guides may be available to support these formats. Partner organizations may request single events or a series to facilitate an in-depth study of opera.
Each session lasts between 60 and 90 minutes. Conversations may be scheduled between April 1 and October 31. For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Library of Conversations
Topics that may be scheduled for Fall 2022 are:
Haunted Opera (Oct. 25)
The number of operas that include ghosts is frightening! We investigate when, why, and how ghosts appear on the operatic stage. Characters in question include Commendatore in Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Banco’s ghost in Verdi’s Macbeth, the cast of ghostly visitors in Britten’s Turn of the Screw, pop-culture ghosts in Moravec’s The Shining, and historical ghosts from Roumain’s We Shall Not Be Moved.
The Inspiration for Madama Butterfly (Jan. 11 at Morikami)
In order to create the opera Madama Butterfly, composer Giacomo Puccini and his librettists, Giuseppe Giacosa and Luigi Illica, studied Japanese culture through travelogues, printed music, sound recordings, and private study of the koto. Catherine Hughes, Director of Education & Community Engagement at Palm Beach Opera, explores these source materials and the ways the opera’s creators incorporated their cultural explorations into their work. This special collaboration features live performances!
The Joy of Opera (Jan. 30)
Explore a historical survey of 400 years of sight, sound, and sensational stories. This presentation celebrates opera as an art form from its beginnings in Renaissance courts of the 15th century to the theatres of today. The overview presents highlights from cornerstones of the Western operatic tradition, and performances by beloved stars of the past and present.
The History of Palm Beach Opera
Delve into the intersections between opera history and South Florida culture with this discussion of our company’s conception, development, and transformation into a leader among regional opera organizations in the United States. This session investigates the contributions of local patrons and opera lovers, the work of company staff, the experiences of our Young Artists and Apprentice Artists, and the appearances by the cast of international opera stars who have contributed to our history.
Opera Inside Out
How does an opera production happen? Get a behind-the-scenes look into the process of selecting, planning, rehearsing, and staging an opera.