Exploring Opera: Behind-the Scenes

 Thursdays, Aug 6-27 | 3:00 PM–4:30 PM

Let former opera professional & instructor James Sokol pull back the curtain and take you on exclusive, behind-the-scenes visits to the opera, while you relax in your home. Each live, online session will feature a different special guest opera professional, who brings his/her unique expertise, experiences & insights to our discussion. Live Q&A and video clips will round out the visit. Your ticket purchase helps support not only our programs, but also our guests – opera professionals – who are, mostly or completely, out of work. Come learn, off-stage, what makes the magic happen on-stage! 

Optional Opera Chat:  If you like, stay after the class for an additional 30-mins to meet other opera lovers in a small “chat room” and discuss a proposed question or just connect over the topic of the small group’s choice. No need to register for the chat; it will be offered at the end of each class. 

The Special Guests: 

Virginia GrassoVirginia Grasso:  The Singer/Teacher (Aug 6)

Meet Virginia Grasso to learn about her fascinating experiences performing some of opera’s most challenging leading roles and gain insights into the vocal demands that she knows as a singer and that she works with as a teacher. 


Ron ValentinoRon Valentino:  The Vocal Coach (Aug 13)

Ron Valentino shares his insights into helping singers meet the vocal demands of a score, the interpretation of the text and the musical lines, which shape their entire performance.  Learn how he prepares singers to go “from the page to the stage?” 


Francesco MiliotiFrancesco Milioto:  The Conductor (Aug 20)

Guest conductor & cover/assistant conductor with several distinguished opera companies, Francesco Milioto discusses his roles and the joys, challenges & differences of working on varied repertoire. 


Emil MilandEmil Miland:  The Orchestra (Aug 27)

From making his solo debut with the San Francisco Symphony at age 16 to being a member of the San Francisco Opera Orchestra since 1988, cellist Emil Miland brings his breadth and depth of performing experience & insights to our “backstage” visit.


For the series of 4-classes, click here. 

$60/Series of 4-classes

Offered by The Osher Marin JCC (San Rafael, CA) and its program partners: The Martin Pear JCC (Scottsdale, AZ), The Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee (FL), The Tampa JCCs & Federation (FL), The JCC of Northern New Jersey, Evelyn Rubenstein JCC of Houston (TX), and The Bender JCC of Greater Washington.


Music at the J is funded in part by the City of Houston through Houston Arts Alliance.

For more information on our music concerts, please contact Amy Rahmani at or 713.595.8197.