Opera Novice

Demystifying opera
one hour at a time

Opera Novice Square

New to opera? Just want more insight? Come to the Madison Opera Center for a short, fun, and informative evening, led by General Director Kathryn Smith. Learn about different aspects of opera and its history, enjoy a live performance, and have the chance to ask questions. It’s the perfect jump-start for the opera-curious.

Isn’t it Rich? The Works of Stephen Sondheim
Friday, January 18, 2019, 6-7pm

Fairy-Tale Opera
Friday, April 5, 2019, 6-7pm

Opera Novice is held at The Margaret C. Winston Madison Opera Center and is FREE and open to the public. RSVP’s are requested.

Community Previews

An informative sneak-peek of each upcoming opera

Community Previews

Free previews are held during the year in public libraries and retirement communities, bringing opera up close to our neighborhoods.  Madison Opera staff lead a multimedia look at each opera – their composers, their histories, and details of Madison Opera’s upcoming production.  Each preview also includes a live performance of an aria from the opera.

A Little Night Music Community Preview
Thursday, January 17, 2019, 7-8pm

Capitol Lakes Retirement Community

Rusalka Community Preview
Thursday, March 28, 2019, 7-8pm

Capitol Lakes Retirement Community

Capitol Lakes Retirement Community
333 W. Main Street 
Madison, WI 53703

Opera Up Close

There’s no better way to get up close with opera

Opera up Close Square

Join Madison Opera for a series of behind-the-scenes previews of this season’s productions. General Director Kathryn Smith leads a multimedia exploration of the history of each opera, followed by a roundtable discussion with the production’s leading artists.

A Little Night Music Preview
Sunday, February 3, 2019, 1-3pm

Rusalka Preview
Sunday, April 21, 2019, 1-3pm

Opera Up Close is held at The Margaret C. Winston Madison Opera Center. Admission is $20 for non-subscribers, payable a thte door. Subscribe and save up to $60 on Opera Up Close tickets.

High School Apprentice Program

Madison Opera’s High School Apprentice Program offers high school juniors and seniors the unique opportunity to explore and experience the world of professional opera. With behind-the-scenes access to rehearsals and performances, one-on-one interaction with professional artists and industry experts, and guidance on training, the apprentices receive a thorough introduction to the production process and careers in the performing arts.  Many former apprentices have gone on to sing in the Madison Opera Chorus.

Apprentices will have the opportunity to:
-meet and dine with distinguished guest artists
-attend rehearsals and performances
-participate in masterclasses and workshops
-attend Opera Novice and Opera Up Close previews
-speak with Madison Opera staff and crew on working in the opera industry
-take a backstage tour of the Overture Center
-have a great time while learning about what it takes to bring an opera to life

The program is free of charge, generously underwritten by Madison Opera’s supporters.

Applications for the 2018/19 program were due on September 30, 2018. Applications for the 2019/20 program will be available in July, 2019.

Student Matinee

Now in its fourth decade, the Student Matinee program brings thousands of middle and high school students from across Wisconsin to a Madison Opera performance.  The 2018/19 Student Matinee was Cavalleria Rusticana and Pagliacci on October 31, 2018 in Overture Hall.  The next student matinee will be announced in May, 2019. If you’d like to be on the student matinee mailing list, please contact us.

Preview Videos

A Little Night Music Preview

Cav/Pag Preview

Opera Guides

Madison Opera’s Click | Read | Watch | Listen guides offer an introduction to each opera, with links to online resources, such as full scores, YouTube samples, pop culture references, and more.  Click below to download each pdf guide.


A. Paul Jones
Charitable Trust

Herb Kohl Philanthropies

With additional funds from the Endres Mfg. Company Foundation, The Evjue Foundation, Inc. charitable arm of The Capitol Times, the W. Jerome Frautschi Foundation and the Pleasant T. Rowland Foundation