The Day-to-Day


Little Opera is a musically based after school program. All of our classes meet twice a week from September through May at West Portal Elementary School. We work with students throughout the city, who range in age from kindergarten through eighth grade.

The end goal is to create a show, in its entirety, from beginning to end. Over the course of the school year, students will:

Writing the choices for setting

Write an Original Story

• Envision and select the backstory from which our opera will take place
• Develop a storyline with complex characters and situations 
• Create a cohesive musical narrative from beginning to end 

Craft a Libretto

• Understand the nuances of lyric writing
• Organize the story through moments of song, movement, and musical dialogue
• Collaborate through the writing, editing, and revision processes

Anna with kids arms up

Compose Music

• Learn about rhythm, melody, and emotion in music
• Improvise sung melodies for all libretto text
• Work with professional composers to creative collaborative content

Choreograph Movement

• Hone movement techniques and skills, explore different dance styles
• Envision original movement sequences to augment the opera’s narrative
• Learn from professional dancers to refine and polish movements

Twirling Birds

Design and Build Sets, Props, and Costumes

• Create original designs for all set, prop, and costume elements of the opera
• Build models for design concepts
• Collaborate with professionals to execute the construction of designs

Rehearse, Reflect, and Direct
      • Work with professionals to improve, polish, and execute the final performance
      • Peer direct in order to build confidence, leadership, and community
      • Reflect on their work, practicing how to give and receive feedback

• Perform the finished Opera in one of San Francisco’s greatest theater spaces
• Share work-in-progress during informal performances for student’s families throughout the year
• Celebrate a year’s hard work with a final bow and a family potluck

Andrew Square


Throughout the program, students will take specialized classes taught by professional Bay Area artists with the intention to supplement – and, by extension, further – student learning. Master class topics vary by year, but often include subjects such as costume design, set design, dance & choreography, stage combat, masks & puppetry, music composition, and singing technique.

Past Master Class instructors include: Sofia Ahad, Michael Barret Austin, Kathleen Barnes, Heather Basrab, Sharon Benitez, Laura Boytz, Dorothy Bayern, El Beh, Todd Berman, Matt Boehler, Joanna Bronk, Alex Burgess, Anna Bullard, Wendy Buzby, Miranda Caroligne, Rodrigo Castillo, Naya Chang, Danny Clay, Ariel Craft, Clara Daims, Sonja Dale, Tara Donohue, Hannah Dworkin, Friction Quartet, Allyson Feeney, Jon Fischer, Callie Floor, Lucas Floyd, Miles Graber, Kimberly Gelbwasser, Margaret Gordon, Nora Beth Griffin, Felipe Hernandez, Kristen Hevner-Wyatt, Ken Helman, Tracy Hughes, Cristina Ibarra, Cindy Im, Laura Inserra, G Scott Lacey, Phillip Lenberg, Rebecca Longworth, John Mayne, Vince Montgomery, Lisa Morse, Amy Mu, Cathleen Riddley, Isabel Rosenstock, Zephyr Roos, Brian Rosen, Sarah Roland, Dorothy Santos, Anna Sapozhnikova, Christina Shonkweiler, Rich Sargent, Tom Segal, David Senk, Emily Shisko, Annie Smith, Matthew Graham Smith, Marissa Simmons, Lauren Spencer, Martha Stookey, Margaret Starr, Wiley Strasser, Elissa Stebbins, Roma Olvera, Adelle Trotta, Mosa Tsay, Charith Wickrema, Debra Wong, Marissa Wolf, Elena Wright, Jessica Winn, Elena Wright, Yi-Fang Wu, and Kat Zdan.