Press Room

Met Opera Guild unveils extensive new season of events

The Metropolitan Opera Guild has announced its Lectures and Community Programs for the 2011-12 Season: an extensive – 20 events in October alone! – and wide-ranging calendar of individual events and courses of study designed to deepen the love and appreciation of opera by fans and performers alike, at every level of engagement and expertise. Among the highlights: MetTalks, featuring conversations with stars and directors of the Metropolitan Opera’s new productions, including Anna Netrebko, Mariusz Kwiecien, Deborah Voigt, Jonas Kaufmann, and Marina Poplavskaya; OPERA NEWS The Singers’ Studio, presenting ten of today’s leading opera stars – including Peter Mattei, Stephanie Blythe, Gerald Finley and Dmitri Hvorostovsky – in casual conversations with editors of Opera News; and the four-part Opera Boot Camp: Basic Training, which will immerse both novices and enthusiasts in the essential nuts and bolts of the art form, from insights on vocal terms and musical vocabulary to the history of opera. On Sunday afternoons this fall, Whose Afraid of Modern Opera  will reveal the secrets to diverse 20th- and 21st-century masterpieces, from Shostakovich’s Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk to Glass’s Satyagraha, and the three-part Going Baroque series will examine one of opera’s most colorful and influential periods. There’s also the three-part Singing Puccini’s Death Scenes, exploring the beloved Italian composer’s most powerful and dramatic music; Musical Chairs: Conversations on a Life in Music, presenting the Guild’s Public Programs producer, Paul Gruber, in conversation with four operatic legends; and much, much more (a detailed summary of this season’s highlights follows below).   
Dottie Allen, the Metropolitan Opera Guild’s Director of Adult Learning and Community Engagement, comments:
“The Metropolitan Opera Guild’s Lectures and Community Programs department is thrilled to announce its 2011-12 season of events emphasizing Met performances and productions, courses on opera and the art form’s history and culture, themed master classes, family workshops, and editorial insights and interviews presented by our colleagues at Opera News.  From Opera Boot Camp: Basic Training for opera newcomers to selective discussion courses and panel seminars focusing on advanced aspects of the art form, this season offers educational and entertaining opportunities to enhance everyone’s opera going experience.”  

The Guild’s President, Richard J. Miller, Jr. observes: “For more than 75 years, the Metropolitan Opera Guild has worked to connect the drama on the stage to audiences in the opera house and around the world. The Guild is proud to cultivate a community of learners and to encourage people to explore their interest in opera.”
A complete calendar for individual events and courses is available at the Metropolitan Opera Guild website:
A downloadable PDF of the Guild’s 2011-12 Lectures and Community Programs brochure is also available:
Highlights of the Metropolitan Opera Guild’s 2011-12 Lectures and Community Programs
Events are held at the Opera Learning Center, 6th floor of the Samuel B. and David Rose Building at Lincoln Center, unless otherwise noted.

MetTalks: New Productions of the 2011-12 Season
Directors and stars of the Met’s 2011-12 new productions discuss the challenges and rewards of bringing their visions to the stage. The operas include Anna Bolena (discussed by star Anna Netrebko, conductor Marco Armiliato, director David McVicar, and General Manager Peter Gelb: Sept 19, 6:30-7:30pm); Don Giovanni (with co-stars Mariusz Kwiecien, Barbara Frittoli, Marina Rebeka, Ramón Vargas, Luca Pisaroni, and conductor Fabio Luisi: Oct 3, 5:30-6:30pm); Siegfried (director Robert Lepage, with stars Deborah Voigt and Gary Lehman, conductor Fabio Luisi, and Peter Gelb: Oct 18, 5:30-6:30pm); Faust (director Des McAnuff, with stars Jonas Kaufmann and Marina Poplavskaya, and conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin: Nov 21, 6:00-7:00pm); The Enchanted Island (Assistant Manager Sarah Billinghurst, with director Phelim McDermott, conductor William Christie, production designers Leo Warner and Mark Grimmer, and librettist Jeremy Sams: Dec 15, 5:30-6:30pm); Götterdämmerung (Peter Gelb, with director Robert Lepage and stars Gary Lehman and Deborah Voigt: Jan 20, 7:00-8:00pm); and Manon (Sarah Billinghurst, with stars Anna Netrebko and Piotr Beczala, director Laurent Pelly, and conductor Fabio Luisi: Mar 16, 5:30-6:30pm). All events are held in the Metropolitan Opera House.
Tickets: $20 general public; $15 Met Subscribers; $10 Guild Members and students
OPERA NEWS The Singers’ Studio: Casual Conversations
In this intimate interview series, some of today’s greatest opera stars chat with editors of Opera News. The line up of Interviewees: Peter Mattei (Oct 17), Eric Owens (Nov 2), Hei-Kyung Hong (Nov 29), Stephanie Blythe (Feb 21), Dolora Zajick (Mar 1), Gerald Finley (Mar 8), Diana Damrau & Juan Diego Flórez (Mar 19), Piotr Beczala (Mar 28), and Dmitri Hvorostovsky (Apr 16). Interviews are held at the Opera Learning Center, 6th floor of the Samuel B. and David Rose Building at Lincoln Center; or the Kaplan Penthouse, 10th floor of the Samuel B. and David Rose Building at Lincoln Center.
Tickets: $25 in advance; $30 at the door; $12 students
Opera Boot Camp-Fall Sessions
Saturday Mornings, Sept 24-Oct 15, 11:00am-12:30pm
Newcomers and seasoned opera lovers alike will deepen their appreciation of the art form with this enlightening series. The Metropolitan Opera Guild’s resident experts offer insights on vocal style and technique, the history of opera, and the unsung heroes on and off the stage. Audience participation is highly encouraged. 
Full course registration: $64
Each session: $18 in advance; $22 at the door; $10 students

Who’s Afraid of Modern Opera?
Sunday Afternoons, Oct 9-30, 4:00-5:30pm
The seemingly unfamiliar world of 20th- and 21st-century opera offers a wealth of exciting music and new perspectives on the traditions of the genre. In this series, Dr. W. Anthony Sheppard explores the rich and varied repertoire of modern and contemporary opera as it relates to the classics of earlier eras, providing tools to understand, appreciate, and enjoy these seminal works.
Full course registration: $64
Each session: $18 in advance; $22 at the door; $10 students
Going Baroque
Sunday Afternoons, Nov 20-Dec 11, 4:00-5:30pm
Opera came into its own in the Baroque era, finding unprecedented acclaim and creating a star system to rival early 20th-century Hollywood. This three-part series explores the world of Baroque opera.
Full course registration: $50

Musical Chairs: Conversations on a Life in Music
In this exciting new series, the Guild’s Public Programs producer Paul Gruber hosts conversations with four great Met artists — events that are sure to be equally entertaining and revealing. Each discussion will include photo reminiscences and rare video performance clips. The interviewees will be Roberta Peters (Nov 10), Marilyn Horne (Jan 23), Rosalind Elias (Feb 13), and Frederica von Stade (Apr 15).
Ticket package of four events and “Best of…” bonus event: $85
Individual tickets: $20 in advance; $25 at the door; $12 students
Singing Puccini’s Death Scenes
Saturday Mornings, Dec 3-17, 11:00am-12:30pm
Many of opera’s most famous death scenes feature especially beautiful and haunting music. But what goes through the mind and body of a performer on stage while creating these heart-wrenching moments? Jane Marsh provides insight into singing some of these scenes in the operas of Puccini. She analyzes different interpretations through video examples and shares operatic trade secrets (as well as humorous anecdotes) of singers in the throes of death.
Full course registration: $48
Each session: $18 in advance; $22 at the door; $10 students
The Metropolitan Opera Guild at a glance
For more than 75 years, the Metropolitan Opera Guild has provided substantial support to the Met, and has greatly enhanced the public’s appreciation of opera in general. Since its founding by the pioneering philanthropist Eleanor Robson Belmont in 1935, the Guild has contributed more than $245 million to the Met. The organization has one of the country’s most innovative and far-reaching music education programs, which impacts more than 1,800 schools and communities. In August 2010, the Guild received a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s “Arts-in-Education” Model Development and Dissemination Program for its Comprehensive Opera-Based Arts Learning and Teaching (COBALT) project.
The Guild also publishes Opera News, the world’s largest circulation magazine devoted to opera, and produces an annual series of major public programs, including the Opera News Awards, and the Met Legends and Met Mastersingers series. The seventh annual Opera News Awards will take place in New York City on April 29, 2012 at The Plaza, celebrating the achievements of five extraordinary artists who have each made an invaluable contribution to the art form: sopranos Karita Mattila and Anja Silja, baritones Dmitri Hvorostovsky and Peter Mattei, and director Peter Sellars.
And Don’t Forget These Additional Events Presented by the Metropolitan Opera Guild
October 31, 2011
“Jackie! – Celebrating Marilyn Horne”
Monday, October 31 at 12:15pm
Grand Ballroom, Waldorf=Astoria, NYC
Musical tribute by Stephanie Blythe
For tickets, call 212-769-7009, or visit
April 29, 2012
Seventh Annual OPERA NEWS Awards
Ballroom, The Plaza, NYC
Honorees: sopranos Karita Mattila and Anja Silja, baritones Dmitri Hvorostovsky and Peter Mattei, and director Peter Sellars.
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