For Immediate Release
Contact: Patricia Kiernan Johnson;







New York , NY - Twelve North American opera companies are partnering with OPERA America , the national service organization for the field, to deliver the association’s 2008-09 season of Online Learning courses. This season’s offerings include: Verdi’s La traviata, Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro, and the world premiere of Andre Previn’s Brief Encounter.

Designed as a service for opera lovers and those who wish to learn more about the art form, the courses offer an opportunity to explore the many diverse elements of opera using the unique capacity and convenience of the Internet.

Each course features content that focuses on the historical backgrounds, musical styles, literary sources and dramatic structures of each opera. Links to written course lectures are e-mailed to participants once each week for four weeks, which allows learners to review the course material at their own pace. Audio clips and production photos are also provided, aiding in the study of musical style and analysis. An interactive comments and questions feature allows discussion among participants and the instructor.

Audience feed back has been positive. “I loved it. Just the right amount of material. I am a professional musician and I appreciate the fact that the materials were not elementary. I felt it was relevant to all types of learning levels,” wrote course participant, Lynne Sawyer, Burlington, NC.

Instructors are chosen for their first-hand experience and collective expertise in a range of behind-the-scenes disciplines that constitute the world of opera. This season’s Online Learning courses are taught by Andrew Eggert (stage director), Scott Eyerly (composer and teacher), Denise Gallo (specialist in 19th century Italian opera and scholar) and Thomas May (author and critic). 

“As with any masterpiece, the more we can learn about its background, historical context or creator’s intent, the more we enrich our experience as we familiarize ourselves with it,” stated Marc A. Scorca, OPERA America ’s President & CEO. “Introducing opera to a broader audience is one of OPERA America ’s core goals. These Online courses, designed for the avid opera fan as well as the first-time attendee deliver knowledge along with enormous enjoyment.”

Support for the Online Learning program has been provided by the
Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts and Target. Audio has been provided by Opera D'Oro and Allegro Music Corporation.

Each partner company will offer the courses at no charge to its patrons; they are available to the general public for $10 each. The Online Learning program is free to members of OPERA America .

For more information or to register for the course(s):


OPERA America 2008-09 Online Learning Schedule

La traviata-August 15-September 12, Instructor: Denise Gallo; 

Madama Butterfly-September 16-October 7, Instructor: Andrew Eggert 

La nozze di Figaro-February 17-March 17, Instructor: Denise Gallo

Brief Encounter-April 1-April 29, Instructor: Thomas May


Partners for the Online Learning courses include The Atlanta Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Lyric Opera of Kansas City , Opera Carolina , Opera Colorado, Opera Memphis, Portland Opera, Sacramento Opera, San Francisco Opera, Utah Symphony & Opera, Washington National Opera and West Bay Opera.



OPERA America leads and serves the entire opera community, supporting the creation, presentation and enjoyment of opera.

  • Artistic services help opera companies and creative and performing artists to improve the quality of productions and increase the creation and presentation of North American works.
  • Information, technical, and administrative services to opera companies reflect the need for strengthened leadership among staff, trustees and volunteers.
  • Education, audience development and community services are designed to enhance all forms of opera appreciation.

Founded in 1970, OPERA America’s worldwide membership network includes nearly 200 Company Members, 300 Associate and Business Members, 2,000 Individual Members and more than 16,000 subscribers to the association’s electronic news service. In 2005, OPERA America relocated from Washington, D.C. to New York as the first step in creating the first-ever National Opera Center. With a wide range of artistic and administrative services in a purpose-built facility, the Opera Center is dedicated to increasing the level of excellence, creativity and effectiveness across the field.

OPERA America’s long tradition of supporting and nurturing the creation and development of new works led to the formation of The Opera Fund, a growing endowment which allows OPERA America to make a direct impact on the ongoing creation and presentation of new opera and music-theater works. Since its inception, OPERA America has made grants of nearly $11 million to assist companies with the expenses associated with the creation and development of new works.