Explore opera!

Madison Opera offers a wide range of education and engagement activities for both adults and students.  Read below for information on the Student Matinee (which will return in the 21/22 season) and the High School Apprentice Program, which is active in the current season.

In a traditional season, we offer community previews of upcoming operas; Opera Up Close, an in-depth look at each opera including an artist roundtable; and Opera Novice, a series of discussions about different aspects of opera. In this pandemic season, much of this content has gone digital, as Opera Novice and Opera Up Close have evolved into new formats. Visit our Digital Winter + Spring page to find out more.

Our archived online content includes recorded versions of General Director Kathryn Smith’s previews and our opera guides, which offer links to online resources about individual operas.

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 of charge, generously underwritten by Madison Opera’s supporters. More information about the program can be found here.

Applications for the 2021/22 season will be available in August 2021.

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.

The 2021/22 Student Matinee will be announced in June 2021, with reservations taken starting in August. To be added to the mailing list, please contact Samantha Garcia at garcia@madisonopera.org.

Archived Video Previews and 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, video samples, and pop culture references.  Click below to download each pdf guide.

Recorded versions of General Director Kathryn Smith’s previews of individual operas are archived below; just click to watch.


A. Paul Jones
Charitable Trust

Herb Kohl Philanthropies

Steinhauer Charitable Trust