Education and Community Engagement

The very nature of opera, as an integrally multidisciplinary art form, has allowed opera companies and schools to develop ways to incorporate opera into the curriculum. Over the years, Florida Grand Opera has been providing students with various ways to experience and engage with the art form, while supporting substantive classroom conceptual connection. Opera encompasses all fine arts disciplines and deals with subject matter drawn from literature, history and myriad cultural contexts. The creation and study of opera is essentially collaborative and complex. Opera performance is characterized by artistic excellence, which stems from historical traditions, and continues to be reinvented using modern technologies.


The art form‘s multifaceted environment inherently allows for connections across educational discipline, and intent to provide: sources of aesthetic experience, sources of human understanding, means of developing creative and flexible forms of thinking. Students are taught what high-quality work is and how to evaluate their work and others, it helps students in their cognitive, social, and emotional development, perfect opportunity to engage and prepare them for and into the 21st Century competitive world.


The combination of dramatic narrative, stagecraft, and music, and especially the range and vulnerability of the human voice, make Opera the art form that comes closest to expressing pure emotion. Narrative skills allow us to understand and tell stories. We learn and communicate using stories many times a day. All of the stagecraft demands give students tremendous life lessons about teamwork and the rewards of hard work. Music triggers engagement in social functions, hence musical activity is directly related to the fulfillment of basic human needs, such as communication, cooperation and social attachment. Music influences, and interacts with, the processing of visual information (whether visual information is real or imagined).


FGO’s Education and Community Engagement is integral to arts education in South Florida, committed to creating curriculum-based programs to educate the new generations about the opera art form. Education and community initiatives for young people and adults encompass the culturally diverse population of South Florida and introduce them to the operatic art form, creative thinking, and gauging understanding of content standards through multidisciplinary, hands-on educational activities. These include in-school classroom connections that focus on both vocal and technological aspects of opera, dress rehearsals (with study guides) for school groups, community performances, FGO Family Festivals, and more.


* You can partner with FGO to help ensure the future of arts education and encourage a community of opera lovers with your generous FGO Education contribution. For more information on our Education programs or to make your gift, click here, or call our Department of Education and Community Engagement at (305) 403-3308.

Programs Available


    • NOTE (Nurturing Opera Through Education) A community initiative for new opera-goers to encompass the culturally diverse South Florida population and introduce them to the operatic art form. Through these K-12 programs, we believe that the earlier the exposure, the better we can bring significant benefits to a child’s brain development and future school and life success. We can develop a unique set of social skills by using opera as a source for a child’s education. We offer programs focused on both vocal and technical aspects of opera for those who want to continue in the Opera World as a career. All our Education programs address different assessments, comprehending empirical data on student learning to refine these programs, and improve student learning.


    • LIVE OPERA LAB (LOL) is a three-week summer learning academy for aspiring young singers and opera lovers in grades 9 to 12. Participants receive hands-on experience with leading industry professionals and performers. All participants take part in classes on careers involved in the operatic art form ranging from performance and repertory, to audition preparation and production. Renowned guest teaching artists offer students a broader view of the world of opera in select masterclasses and workshops. LEARN MORE


    • HALO (Holistic Approach to Learning Opera) – An integral education program for K-5th grade students. The program creates meaningful connections between different academic topics and opera elements. Creating conscious interactive experiences for students and cultivating their knowledge of the opera helps increase language skills, higher-level thinking, and creative problem-solving skills in real-world situations. It involves cooperative learning, teaches tolerance and understanding of other cultures, develops an appreciation for the arts, consists of all learning styles, and stimulates the imagination. Opera also offers a way to make connections across disciplines. FGO intends to create a language-rich environment where students are surrounded by talking, singing, and reading. By doing so, we create opportunities throughout their class, across all activities, to communicate with others and engage in back-and-forth conversations. A rich language environment is essential for children’s early learning and strongly affects language, vocabulary, reading, and math skills.


    • ISOLDE (In-School Opera Learning During Experiences) – In-School Opera is an interdisciplinary introduction to opera program, empowering students to engage with and enjoy opera while meeting state academic standards; the program is developed for school group’s grades 5 to 8. The program focuses on various Opera aspects surrounding the idea of ensuring the next generation of opera lovers.


    • IN-SCHOOL INFORMANCE – offers schools flexible, educational experiences through concert performances, mentoring, and talkback sessions with the company’s Studio Artists (SAs). Through these Informances, FGO’s SAs have the opportunity to connect with students by sharing their talents and their artistic journeys. The flexibility of the Informances program is tailored to the needs of each school, making it a unique opportunity that extends far beyond music and choral programming. Language, English, History, and Social Studies departments greatly benefit from Informance presentations, since many operas are composed in foreign languages and have a particular historical context. During Informances, SAs will introduce the musical pieces they are presenting, offering a brief background, description, and translation. Following the performances, SAs, as well as the artistic and education department staff will hold talkback sessions with students and faculty. Informances are customized to the needs of the individual teachers and schools.Participating schools receive a curriculum-based Study Guide for each opera. Study Guides contain a complete overview of the opera, including information on its history, composer, librettist, background material, composition style, production elements, and more. Study Guides are available on the FGO website for download.


    • PD (Professional Development) is designed for teachers, a training program to enhance or better their teaching skills that immerse them in opera-based processes to support student learning across the curriculum. With hands-on activities and interaction, FGO PD’s is an opportunity for teachers at 8 –12 levels to learn new teaching styles, techniques, and tips and interact with educators from other areas to impact their instructional practice positively.


    • HOPE (Having an Opera Performance Experience) – Florida Grand Opera understands the impact music and arts generate for a community and its residents. Three decades of research confirm that well-implemented immersion in heritage language and culture improves language acquisition, enhances test performance, increases school retention and graduation rates, college entry, and increases parent involvement and cultural pride. This FGO education program for high scholars’ students 9-12 grades provides low-cost or free tickets and transportation to over 5,000 Miami-Dade and Broward County students to experience the thrill of live opera for each of the four final mainstage dress rehearsals. As part of this renewed program, FGO offers participating schools the opportunity of having an opera preview before the dress rehearsals. During this unique presentation, the Director of Education, Luis Valenzuela, visits each site and engages students and teachers in an opera overview. Each visit is tailored to the students’ needs and ages and includes a synopsis of the opera, theater and opera etiquette, historical relevance, production elements, vocal categories, and composition style.


    • OPERA LAB is an in-school residential program that offers experiential laboratory style learning based on the opera art form. Students in 9-12 grade participate in lessons taught by FGO’s artistic and production staff that are designed to supplement college and career preparation while allowing students to explore the vast array of available careers in the arts.


    • FORTE OPERA TEENS is an Opera America national initiative to empower high schoolers to pursue their opera interests and share opera with others. FGO is the sponsor for the inaugural South Florida chapter of “Forte Teens”, part of the National Opera Teens Council. Membership is free for ages 12–18 and offers exclusive perks.





    • FAMILY FESTIVAL DAY – brings the grand world of opera directly into the South Florida community’s hands. This free public program allows children and adults to explore all the different opera production elements at interactive, hands-on activity stations. There are prop design, costume masks, and musical elements represented throughout the day and fun performances and interactions with FGO’s staff and artists.


    • COMMUNITY CONVERSATIONS – informal lectures around the city that introduces these operas and discusses their relevance to modern life. The series strives to alleviate the widely held fallacy of opera as an inscrutable, arcane art form and provide access to opera for the uninitiated.