The California Arts Council has awarded San Diego Opera three grants totaling $50,400 which will help support the Company’s extensive education programs. The first grant is for $18,000 and helps support the Company’s long running Words and Music (WAM) program. A second grant for $16,200 will specifically support WAM at the La Maestra Center for Youth Advancement.

The WAM program works with students to provide instruction in composition, production, and performance; guiding students through the process of telling their own stories through music and drama. WAM has reached thousands of elementary, middle, and high school students in 34 schools across the San Diego County region since its inception in 2002 with weekly, standards-based arts instruction over the course of the school year. The Company expanded the program to offer weekly artist residencies in the City Heights community in 2015. Following the success of a 2017 summer program at La Maestra Center for Youth Development in this neighborhood, San Diego Opera will continue this program in the summer of 2019 as well in after-school programs for the 2019 school year. San Diego Opera will continue to partner with Izcalli (a community-based Chicano theater group) and La Maestra Foundation for WAM.

San Diego Opera’s Education programs primarily target traditionally underserved students and students who would otherwise likely lack access to the arts. The Company aims to demonstrate that opera as an art form (essentially the combination of words and music) has relevance for our community, and encourages youth to create their own works of music, theater, and poetry based on their life experiences. These programs enable students to find their unique voices, and fosters self-confidence and student agency.

The City Heights community, where the La Maestra Center for Youth Advancement is located, is one of the most ethnically diverse areas of San Diego, with a significant population of resettled refugees from Vietnam, Somalia, and Iraq. There is a need for area residents to understand and celebrate its youth. The project activities and performances will highlight the lives of these students and the issues most important to them.

San Diego Opera Teaching Artists, trained in Restorative Practices, create a space for youth to reflect, allowing them to open up and share their experiences with peers. Through this process, they can identify which students need connections to additional social-emotional health resources. This approach leads to respect, empathy, empowerment, and problem solving through conversation.

The final grant of $16,200 is to support the Company’s Student Night at the Opera program. Student Night at the Opera provides students and their chaperones access to the final dress performance of our mainstage productions. The program includes free tickets to the opera and free transportation to the San Diego Civic Theatre from the participating schools and community groups. Each year more than 7,500 students attend these performances through this program which enhances drama/theatre arts, music arts, visual arts, history, and language learning. The Company also provides free docent visits to the classroom that prepares students for their experience at the opera.

San Diego Opera 2019-2020 Season

Aida: Theatrical Concert Opera                         Giuseppe Verdi                     October 19, 22, 25, and 27 (mat), 2019

One Amazing Night with Ailyn Pérez and Joshua Guerrero                            December 11, 2019

Hansel & Gretel                                                 Engelbert Humperdinck        February 8, 11, 14, and 16 (mat), 2020

Aging Magician                                                  Paola Prestini                        March 13 and 14 (evening and mat), 2020

The Barber of Seville                                          Gioachino Rossini                April 25, 28, May 1 and 3 (mat) 2020

The Falling and the Rising                                  Zach Redler                          May 8, 9, and 10 (mat) 2020

San Diego Opera Mission Statement

The mission of San Diego Opera is to deliver exceptional vocal performances and exciting, accessible programs to diverse audiences, focusing on community engagement and the transformative power of live performance.

San Diego Opera Vision Statement

San Diego Opera will be recognized internationally as a leading example of adaptability, innovation and sustainability in the operatic arts, promoting diversified programming and unique performance venues with world-class and emerging talent.

San Diego Opera Core Values Statement

Through excellence in innovative programming and education, SDO provides a lasting cultural service to the community.

  • Our tradition of excellence in fully staged opera is augmented with new models of opera and venues. Our unique and deep commitment to the community propels us to explore ways of increasing affordability and accessibility.
  • Through fiscal responsibility and nimble adaptation to the changing marketplace, we protect the future of San Diego Opera.
  • Our educational and community involvement coupled with relevant programming will build the audience of the future.