Explore opera!

Madison Opera offers a wide range of education and engagement activities for both adults and students.

Student activities include the Student Matinee and the High School Apprentice Program.

Opera Up Close returns in person this season, offering an in-depth look at each production, including an artist roundtable.

Opera Talk with Kathryn Smith is a free continuation of last season’s popular online talks, as Kathryn goes down varied rabbit holes of opera and its centuries of history. Find out details here.

Community previews are offered in retirement communities, and a digital version of each preview will be available to the broader public. Find out about digital previews here.

Community Previews

Every season, Madison Opera brings free previews of our operas to local retirement communities.  Madison Opera staff offer a multimedia look at each opera – their composers, their histories, and details of our upcoming production – and a Studio Artist performs an aria from it.

Below are the current dates and locations for this season. Due to the ongoing pandemic, these previews are limited to residents of each retirement community. We are offering digital previews of each opera to the general public; visit our digital page for dates and links.

Lucia di Lammermoor previews
Oakwood Village (Univ. Woods) – October 5 at 7pm
Capitol Lakes – October 14 at 7pm

She Loves Me previews
Oakwood Village (Univ. Woods) – January 18 at 7pm
Capitol Lakes – January 28 at 7pm

Orpheus in the Underworld previews
Oakwood Village (Univ. Woods) – March 29 at 7pm
Capitol Lakes – April 7 at 7pm

Interested in an opera preview for your organization? Contact us and we will see if we can schedule one!

Opera Up Close

Madison Opera’s popular series of behind-the-scenes previews of each opera returns! 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 and creative team.

Save these dates to join us at the Madison Opera Center:

Lucia di Lammermoor Up Close
Sunday, October 31, 1-3 pm

She Loves Me Up Close
Sunday, February 13, 1-3 pm

Orpheus in the Underworld Up Close
Sunday, April 24, 1-3 pm

Opera Up Close is held at The Margaret C. Winston Madison Opera Center. Admission is $20 for non-subscribers, $10 for 2 show subscribers and free to 3 show subscribers, payable at the 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 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.

The program is free to students and generously underwritten by Madison Opera’s supporters.

Applications for the 2022/23 season will be available in the summer of 2022. 

Questions? Contact Samantha Garcia at garcia@madisonopera.org.

Student Matinee

Now in its fourth decade, the Student Matinee program brings thousands of middle and high school students from across Wisconsin to a school-day performance at Madison Opera. In recent seasons, students have seen productions of La Traviata, Cavalleria Rusticana / Pagliacci, Carmen, and The Magic Flute.

As of December 2021, we have canceled plans to host a full Student Matinee of She Loves Me. At this time, we are researching the possibility of opening the dress rehearsal on Wednesday, February 16 at 7 pm to a limited number of small school groups consisting of students fully vaccinated against COVID-19. We are continuing to collect information on school groups interested in attending and will make a decision on how to safely proceed in the new year. Please contact Chloe Agostino at agostino@madisonopera.org for more information, or to be added to the list of interested schools.


A. Paul Jones
Charitable Trust

Herb Kohl Philanthropies

Steinhauer Charitable Trust