K-12 Programs

Given the current COVID-19 pandemic, Austin Opera has pressed pause on live, in-person programs for the safety of our community and staff, but you are welcome to learn more about our onsite offerings under the red tabs below.

In the meantime, we’ve created a library of online activities and videos to continue fostering and nurturing a love for opera during this time apart.

View our digital materials here!


Austin Opera shares the magic of opera with thousands of children in the Central Texas region every year. Our programs give students a rare opportunity to experience one of the theater’s most creative and engaging art forms, in the classroom and on the stage.

Email Debra Erck, Director of Education at derck@austinopera.org

Opera Treasure Chest

Recommended for grades K-5 (free)

Opera Treasure Chest is a free program that includes TEKS-aligned interactive lesson plans culminating in a live opera performance for students in grades K-5. Each lesson comes with the materials teachers need to help students experience opera while reinforcing writing skills, critical thinking and creativity. Teachers at participating schools “check out” treasure chests full of opera-related materials— including printed lesson plans, DVDs, books, and puppets. TEKs areas addressed by the Opera Treasure Chest include music, theatre, art, language arts, and health education. Contact Debra Erck, Director of Education at derck@austinopera.org to schedule this program for your school.

Opera Treasure Chest Materials

  • What is Opera, Anyway? PowerPoint: This PowerPoint is provided to accompany LESSON 1: What is Opera, Anyway? From the Opera Treasure Chest Binder. It features illustrations from the book Bravo! Bravo! A Night at the Opera. This PowerPoint introduces students to opera vocabulary and the many different careers associated with the art form.
  • Opera Treasure Chest Curriculum – Here is the complete Lesson & Resources Binder in digital form. Although these resources reference materials in the Opera Treasure Chest, many of the lessons can be modified and used in any classroom with students Grades K-5.


“The Opera Treasure Chest was a great ‘hook’ for getting kids past their preconceived notions about opera. Knowing that opera tells a story, that both boys and girls can participate, that there are lots of people doing so many artistic things to get ready for a performance, these were all invaluable lessons for my kids.”
– Christopher Koenig, Herrington Elementary, Round Rock ISD

“My kids absolutely loved the twists to some of the operas that we read and learned about. Great resource!”
– Janett Cavasos, Ridgetop Elementary, AISD

“The Opera Treasure chest has been fun! My 2nd graders won’t stop talking about opera in the halls. I think they’re going to be disappointed that it’s gone next time they come to music!”
– Nathalie Schiele, Bryker Woods, AISD

Access Opera

Recommended for grades 5-12, depending on production (free)

Thousands of students and educators attend Austin Opera mainstage dress rehearsals through Access Opera.  Prior to each event, online resources are made available, as well as live docent presentations, to prepare students for the experience of attending the opera.  Docent programs and select study materials are also available in Spanish, on request.  Go to the ACCESS OPERA page for more information and to register online.

AUSTIN, TX – JANUARY 26, 2018 – Ariadne auf Naxos by Richard Strauss. Austin Opera

Exposing children to opera at a young age is essential to creating a lifelong appreciation for the art form. Making it accessible to them in their own city is invaluable. We had a wonderful time. This is one of the greatest programs available in Austin and I am thrilled we found it!

– Michelle Escuder, Kirby Hall School

This was an amazing opportunity to introduce younger students to opera! Thank you for providing us with this valuable program! Please continue ACCESS OPERA! We would love to participate again in the future.

– John Garcia, Casey Elementary, Austin ISD

Sarah & Ernest Butler Masterclass Series

Recommended for high school students and older (free, but reservation required)

Join Austin Opera for a masterclass presented in partnership with the Butler School of Music at the University of Texas. The masterclass allows UT students to work with an internationally recognized performer.

While participation is limited to selected college-aged students and Austin Opera chorus members, the general public is invited to attend and see a Master of the voice work with singers, touching on subjects of musicality, the mechanics of singing, and what it is like to perform on stage. This is a great opportunity for anyone who has ever wondered how our singers do what they do.