Opera Learning Resources

Looking to learn more about opera?  You have come to the right place!

Inside Austin Opera: David Lefkowich, Stage Director
Check out this backstage interview with stage director David Lefkowich, featuring students DeSyre Collier and Ethan Boone, Lehman H.S., Hays CISD

AUSTIN, TX - APRIL 26, 2018 - La Traviata by Giuseppe Verdi.
AUSTIN, TX - NOVEMBER 10, 2015 - Austin Opera presents Wagner's "The Flying Dutchman." (Photo by Erich Schlegel for Austin Opera).
AUSTIN, TX - APRIL 27, 2017 -  Austin Opera presents  "Madame Butterfly." (Photo by Erich Schlegel for Austin Opera).


Meet three of Austin Opera’s Wardrobe staff who work behind the scenes to make the magic of costumes come alive for Austin Opera’s productions.

Inside Austin Opera: Kathy Lang, Wardrobe Supervisor
Spend a few minutes with Kathy in the Wardrobe Room prior to the start of a final rehearsal of Austin Opera’s production of Ariadne auf Naxos.

Inside Austin Opera: Trinka Withers, Head Dresser
Put on your comfy shoes and get ready to follow Trinka as she shows us some of her favorite spots in the theatre.

Inside Austin Opera: Joe Adams, Assistant Wardrobe Supervisor
Join Joe at the Austin Opera Warehouse as he takes us through the steps of a costume fitting.  This video also features Abigail Jackson, from the Austin Opera Chorus.

The ART of Costume Design PowerPoint

This PowerPoint is full of great pictorial references to introduce students to CLOTHING TERMINOLOGY.  Included are photos from our three 2017-2018 Season productions.

UNIT LESSON PLANS – Costume Design
Three lessons that bring the videos and PowerPoint above together and provide ideas for engaging students in the costume process.  Technical Theatre TEKs correlated.

AUSTIN, TX - JANUARY 26, 2018 - Ariadne auf Naxos by Richard Strauss. Austin Opera
AUSTIN, TX - NOVEMBER 9, 2017 - Carmen by Georges Bizet. Austin Opera


Susan Branch Towne is an award-winning costume designer who lives in Austin, Texas.  She graduated from LBJ High School in Austin ISD.  She designs costumes for theater, opera and ballet all over the United States.  In 2008, Ms. Branch-Towne designed the costumes for a new production of The Bat (Die Fledermaus), which included several characters dressed as Texas icons.  Most currently she has designed costumes for several shows at Zach Scott Theatre.

Bats Left, Sings Right

The Bat 

Making of Opera: Nabucco – Costume Design

Backstage at the Met Opera’s Costume Shop

Design Challenge – designing and making a costume

Descriptions of all of the musical components in an opera – overture, aria, recitative, ensemble, chorus, orchestral music.

A detailed definition of all the different voice types common in opera.

ACTIVITY: Careers in the Arts
This lesson encourages students to explore a wide range of careers in the arts.

A great ONLINE source for information about opera.

Opera101 – Opera History
A nice overview of opera history through the time periods.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018
10:30 a.m. & 12:45 p.m.
Georgetown ISD Klett Performing Arts Center
Julia Taylor, soprano
Julie Silva, mezzo-soprano
Brendan Boyle, tenor
Austin Siebert, baritone
Nyle Matsuoka, piano

Austin Opera is excited to be partnering with the Georgetown Symphony Society to provide a LIVE performance of opera selections for 4th and 5th grade students in Georgetown ISD.  We hope that the resources provided here will assist teachers in preparing students for this special program – and make the concert a fun and exciting event for all!  If you have additional questions or requests, please do not hesitate to contact Debra Erck, Director of Education at derck@austinopera.org.

What is Opera, Anyway?
This PowerPoint accompanies the lesson What is Opera, Anyway?  It is a compilation of illustrations from the book Brava! Brava! A Night at the Opera.  It is a great way to introduce the many different people and skills required to put on an opera.  Includes a lot of vocabulary associated with opera as well.  A simple script for the PPoint is provided (Go to VIEW – Outline View in the PPoint to see notes on each slide).


There are some great resources for introducing the opera Carmen to your students here



Inside Austin Opera
Includes “Behind the Scenes” videos of interviews with an opera stage director and Austin Opera’s Wardrobe Staff.  Along with the wardrobe videos are additional materials for learning more about Costumes and Wardrobe, including a PowerPoint and lesson plans to guide students in creating an original costume in the artistic medium or their choice.

Getting to Know Opera
Includes links to information about the components in an opera (ex. Overture, aria, etc.), the different voice types, as well as a nice overview of opera history.  Don’t forget to check out the Careers in the Arts activity – it has a comprehensive list of careers and skills associated with opera.


Austin Opera Patron Services
512-610-7684; Monday-Friday: 9am-5pm

Long Center Box Office Hours
Monday-Friday:10 am – 6 pm
Saturday: 10 am – 4 pm
Sunday: open during scheduled performances

Send this to a friend