"This thrill and appreciation of opera (and of all art forms) is a critical part of an education curriculum which ensures an understanding and appreciation that in art and music, one can find inspiration, joy, escapism, awe and humanistic insight – which to me, are all very necessary elements of character development.” Teacher, Dundas Public School

Opera is a multifaceted art-form that is a combination of music (both instrumental and vocal), drama, visual art, and at times dance. There are many different entry points to understanding an opera and we are committed to supporting your student’s engagement with this remarkable art form. Our custom workshops provide a way for your students to explore specific components of opera creation, production and performance based on their interest and area of study. Taking place in the classroom or before or after an opera performance, custom workshops will provide your students with the tools to open up to the opera experience or deepen their preexisting knowledge. Contact us to begin crafting a completely custom workshop.

Before attending one of our mainstage productions, work with a COC artist educator to learn about the plot, characters, music, history, design or production of the opera through a customized workshop. Or, after viewing an opera, delve further into these subjects and spark reflective classroom discussion. Through interactive activities and active engagement, students will explore what is important about the music, plot and/or design of this production and what professionals in each field need to consider when staging it. 


Opera and Arts-Based Workshops:

Exploring Vocal Versatility workshops: Bring an opera singer or professional vocal teacher into your school to work on a piece of music or re-affirm vocal technique and explore the complex nature of opera singing.

Dynamic Drama Workshops: One reason opera is a spectacular event, is due to the high-intensity drama. With an array of diverse and passionate characters - a deep exploration of the story through drama can leave your students compelled to learn more.

An Up Close Orchestral Workshop: Invite a member from the COC orchestra to lead a master class with your strings or band classes.

Setting the Stage –The Visual Elements workshops: Invite an opera designer into your school to construct props, sets, or costumes to bring an opera or a non-opera story to life.


Opera and Beyond - Expanded Workshops:

Opera can be expanded to connect beyond just arts related subjects. With a diverse history, origins in mythology, poetry and literature and with themes that explore psychology, culture and sociology, opera offers many entry points for your students to engage with powerful, multi-faceted stories. Some examples of these expanded workshops include but are not limited to:

English and Media Literacy workshops: Many of the stories in opera are adapted from or inspired by mythology, poetry, plays, books and much more. There are many ways to tie opera into the English curriculum, offering new and exciting approach to engage young people. 

History, Humanities and Social Sciences: Opera has an interesting history and evolution, which relates to both music history and general history as well. Depending on the opera, there is much to learn about the time period through the libretto, storylines and music. Furthermore culture, sociology, anthropology and psychology are all interesting topics that can be explored through this art form. Explore the diverse and complex family relationships in Arabella, or take a step back in time and witness how the Tudor period is depicted with Anna Bolena. Furthermore operas including The Nightingale and other Short Fables can offer an exploration to jazz history, poetry and Russian culture.  Each opera provides unique opportunities for your students to be entertained and inspired!


To begin customizing a workshop:

  • Contact Madelyn Wilkinson the School Programs Manager by email at madelynw@coc.ca or by phone at 416-306-2392
  • Discuss your areas of interests, dates, curriculum etc. to determine the content of the workshop
  • From our list of professional artist educators we will schedule the right person who will best deliver the needs of you and your students
  • Workshop fees will vary depending on the content and structure of the program
  • You can also combine your workshop with a tour of the Joey and Toby Tanenbaum Opera Centre! 

*Please note: Workshops require six to eight weeks planning time from initial inquiry


Students participate in a movement workshop at Howard Park Jr. P.S. Photo: COC, 2012

Sign up for eOpera
Sign up to receive news and updates from Education and Outreach at the COC.