With all the attention that is given to performances on the stage of the War Memorial Opera House, the Education Department of the San Francisco Opera (SFO) runs the risk of getting less coverage for its efforts than it deserves. However, this Department is a major player in SFO community outreach activities. It prepares offerings for students, teachers, adults, and families, all with the common objective of building and keeping better informed audiences for SFO performances.
One of the more interesting adult offerings is the ongoing series of Overture Workshops. These are interactive events for the general adult public led by SFO artists and staff, as well as other music professionals. The next of these workshops will take place during the coming week. The title is Follow the Leader: The Role of the Conductor; and it will be led by Jonathan Khuner, currently Musical Director of West Edge Opera.
The interactive element of this workshop will address how the conductor communicates with the performers. Khuner will explain the ways in which hand gestures can provide information about tempo, dynamics, and more subtle qualities of execution. Participants will be able to try out some of these techniques, regardless of the extent of prior music experience. In addition, there is an administrative side to how a conductor contributes to the interpretation of the composer’s efforts. This involves active participation in a social network whose members include not only the orchestra and vocalists but also the stage director.
This workshop will take place in the Chorus Room of the War Memorial Opera House. It will run for two hours beginning at 7 p.m., and it will take place this Thursday, January 30. The registration fee is $25. Because class capacity is limited, the best way to arrange to attend is to call the Box Office at 415-864-3330 to reserve a space. Box Office hours are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on the remaining weekdays.