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We offer a wide array of educational experiences for people of all ages and opera expertise.

Photo by Cory Weaver

Pre-Opera Talks

Do you have tickets to see an opera at the Kauffman Center? Come one hour early to learn about the who, what, where, when, and why of the production you’re about to see.

Unless otherwise indicated, Pre-Opera Talks are held in the Muriel Kauffman Theatre at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. You may sit in any available seat for Pre-Opera Talks. We kindly ask that you relocate to your ticketed seat for the performance.

The Shining (Dr. Rebecca Johnson, speaker)

  • Saturday, March 11, 2023, 6:30-7:00 pm
  • Friday, March 17, 2023, 6:30-7:00 pm
  • Sunday, March 19, 2023, 1:00-1:30 pm

Dr. Johnson began her career at Metropolitan Community College – Blue River in 1998 where she now serves as Coordinator of Music as well as the conductor of the Metropolitan Chorale of Kansas City.  Dr. Johnson is the recipient of the Certificate of Honor from Pi Kappa Lambda and holds memberships in the American Choral Directors Association, the National Music Educators Association, Tau Beta Sigma, and Pi Kappa Lambda. Dr. Johnson holds a bachelor degree from the University of Northern Colorado, a master’s degree from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, and a doctorate from the Conservatory of Music at the University of Missouri Kansas City. Outside the classroom, Dr. Johnson is the founding director of the Sacred Arts Chorale, as well as a frequent lecturer throughout the area.

Sondheim on Sondheim (Dr. Paul Laird, speaker)

  • Saturday, May 6, 2023, 6:30-7:00 pm
  • Sunday, May 7, 2023, 1:00-1:30 pm

Paul Laird is Professor of Musicology at the University of Kansas, where he teaches courses on music history, musical theatre, and directs the Instrumental Collegium Musicum. He has published widely on the musical theatre, the lives and works of Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Schwartz, the Baroque cello, and the Spanish villancico. His books include seven that he has written himself, four that are co-written, and six that he has co-edited. These books include three editions of The Cambridge Companion to the Musical, co-edited with William A. Everett, and Dueling Grounds: Revolution and Revelation in the Musical Hamilton, co-edited with Mary Jo Lodge. Laird has also published numerous book chapters and articles.

Previous Talks

Carmen (Jane Sylvester, speaker)

  • Saturday, September 24, 2022, 6:30-7:00 pm
  • Friday, September 30, 2022, 6:30-7:00 pm
  • Sunday, October 2, 2022, 1:00-1:30 pm

Jane Sylvester holds a PhD in Musicology from the Eastman School of Music. Her work centers on studies of gender, embodiment, and the intersections between musical practices and histories of science in late nineteenth-century opera. Jane’s research has been supported by awards from the American Council of Learned Societies, the American Musicological Society, and the Presser Foundation. She has most recently presented her research at meetings of the American Musicological Society and the Transnational Opera Studies Conference, and her forthcoming journal articles will be in press with the Cambridge Opera Journal and Opera Quarterly.

La traviata (Martin Nedbal, speaker)

  • Saturday, November 5, 2022, 6:30-7:00 pm
  • Friday, November 11, 2022, 6:30-7:00 pm
  • Sunday, November 13, 2022, 1:00-1:30 pm

Martin Nedbal, Associate Professor of Musicology at the University of Kansas, is the author of Viennese Opera and Morality in the Age of Mozart and Beethoven (Routledge, 2017) and translator and editor of The Published Theoretical Works of Leoš Janáček (Editio Janáček, 2020). His articles on Mozart, Beethoven, and Czech music have also appeared in many journals and books.


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