Frankfurt OperaTalk

If you speak English, live in or near Frankfurt and are interested in opera, be sure to sign up for Germany’s only English-language opera appreciation course, Frankfurt OperaTalk, at the Volkshochschule (vhs), the city’s non-profit, public service adult education center.

At Frankfurt OperaTalk, English-speaking opera fans meet at the VHS to get acquainted with each other and with the lively Frankfurt opera scene. Native and non-native speakers of English are cordially invited to enroll. The discussions are friendly and unpretentious, and you don’t have to be an opera expert to take part.

Jens Joneleit, Composer

Often an English-speaking singer or musician (or composer or stage director) is on hand to answer questions about current opera productions and about life on the international opera circuit.

Enrollment for the 27th round of Frankfurt OperaTalk has already begun on To find the course, click on “Kursangebot” and then enter the new course number 2302-12 into the search box. The course will take place on five Monday evenings: February 17, March 9, March 23, April 20 and May 4, 2020 from 18:30 to 20:45 at the Volkshochschule, Sonnemannstraße 13.

New participants are always welcome, especially since some of our long-time course members have recently returned to their native countries. 

Full disclosure: Since I am the teacher of this course, I might be somewhat biased, but I do think it’s a great way to meet English-speaking opera fans (and opera professionals) in Frankfurt. This is why I go on teaching Frankfurt OperaTalk, even though it is more work than any of my other courses and brings in the least money.

I’ve been teaching this course since 2002 (and a similar course in German since 1999). We have so far had a hundred and five different English-speaking guests from the world of opera (some of whom have come more than once over the years):

Želiko Lučić, Baritone

  • Pia-Marie Nilsson, Soprano
  • Paul Morris, Violinist
  • Katrin Hilbe, Stage director
  • Kent Carlson, Tenor
  • Cynthia Szymkowicz, Soprano
  • Rosamund Gilmore, Stage director
  • Karen Kamensek, Conductor
  • Miah Persson, Soprano
  • Ann-Marie Backlund, Soprano
  • Michael McCown, Tenor
  • Peter Marsh, Tenor
  • Richard Morschel, Bassoonist
  • Yves Saelens, Tenor
  • Jenny Carlstedt, Mezzo-Soprano
  • James McNamara, Stage director
  • Louise Giedraitis, Cellist
  • Magnus Baldvinsson, Bass
  • David Tasa, Trumpet player
  • Gioacchino Lauro Li Vigni, Tenor
  • Carla Cunningham, Supernumerary aka extra-player
  • Corinna Schmitz, Cellist

    Simon Bailey, Bass-Baritone

  • Maria Fontosh, Soprano
  • Shawn Mathey, Tenor
  • Mark S. Doss, Bass-Baritone
  • Diane Pilcher, Mezzo-Soprano
  • Dawn Rivard, Make-up artist
  • Erik Nielsen, Conductor
  • Gregory Frank, Bass
  • William Cochran, Tenor
  • Andrew Richards, Tenor
  • Anna Ryberg, Soprano
  • Nick Deutsch, Oboist
  • Simon Bailey, Bass-Baritone
  • Danielle Halbwachs, Soprano
  • Hope Briggs, Soprano
  • Caroline Whisnant, Soprano
  • John Treleaven, Tenor

    With Nathanial Webster, Baritone, at Frankfurt OperaTalk

  • Nathaniel Webster, Baritone
  • Želiko Lučić, Baritone
  • Angus Wood, Tenor
  • Betsy Horne, Mezzo-Soprano (now Soprano)
  • Jud Perry, Tenor (now Counter-Tenor)
  • Jean-Marc Vogt, Violist

    Russell Thomas, Tenor

  • Sharon Kempton, Soprano
  • Jussi Myllys, Tenor
  • Malin Aldener, Soprano
  • Janet Collins, Contralto
  • Jens Joneleit, Composer
  • Richard Cox, Tenor
  • Brenda Rae, Soprano
  • Yuval Zorn, Conductor
  • Christine Graham, Soprano
  • Beau Gibson, Tenor
  • Paula Murrihy, Mezzo-Soprano
  • Michael Clark, Chorus Director
  • Tanja Ariane Baumgartner, Mezzo-Soprano
  • Sir John Tomlinson, Bass
  • André Weiss, Chorus Director in Darmstadt
  • Sharon Carty, Mezzo-Soprano
  • Leah Frey-Rabine, Soprano and voice teacher
  • Francisco Brito, Tenor
  • Vuyani Mlinde, Bass
  • Meredith Arwady, Contralto
  • Caterina Panti Liberovici, Stage director
  • Karen Vuong, Soprano
  • Jessica Strong, Soprano
  • Iurii Samoilov, Baritone
  • Elza van den Heever, Soprano
  • Heidi Melton, Soprano
  • Elizabeth Reiter, Soprano

Juanita Lascarro (right) with course participants

  • Juanita Lascarro, Soprano
  • Mario Chang, Tenor
  • Thomas Faulkner, Bass-Baritone
  • Eric Cutler, Tenor
  • Russell Thomas, Tenor
  • Michael Porter, Tenor
  • Freya Ritts-Kirby, Violinist
  • Julia Dawson, Mezzo-Soprano

    Julia Dawson, Mezzo-Soprano, with course participants at Frankfurt OperaTalk

  • Theo Lebow, Tenor
  • Cecelia Hall, Mezzo-Soprano
  • AJ Glueckert, Tenor
  • Daniel Miroslaw, Bass
  • Anne Larlee, Rehearsal pianist
  • Brandon Cedel, Bass-Bariton
  • Elizabeth Sutphen, Soprano
  • Sydney Mancasola, Soprano
  • Angela Vallone, Soprano
  • Emilia Gausse, Violinist
  • Jonathan Beyer, Baritone
  • Alexander Prior, Conductor and Composer
  • Brian Mulligan, Baritone
  • Gal Fefferman, Dancer and stage manager
  • Marta Herman, Mezzo-Soprano
  • Barnaby Rea, Bass
  • Kirsten MacKinnon, Soprano
  • Michael Petruccelli, Tenor
  • Mikolaj Trabka, Baritone
  • Michelle Bradley, Soprano
  • Zanda Svede, Mezzo-Soprano
  • Mario Antonio Marra, Rehearsal pianist
  • Jennifer Holloway, Soprano
  • Bozidar Smiljanic, Bass-Baritone
  • Ambur Braid, Soprano
  • Kelsey Lauritano, Mezzo-Soprano
  • Nina Brazier, Stage director

Frankfurt OperaTalk takes place in the Volkshochschule, Sonnemannstraße 13, across the street from Dr. Hoch’s Conservatory and across the intersection from the European Central Bank (ECB).

ECB and VHS, 2013

This is what the new ECB building looked like in 2013, when construction was nearing completion. I took this photo from Paul-Arnsberg-Platz. The five-storey building on the right is the Volkshochschule (VHS).

See also: my course Opern-Gespräche in German.

2 thoughts on “Frankfurt OperaTalk”

  1. Those courses about upcoming productions make such difference to the enjoyment and understanding of the operas. I used to belong to such a group in Gothenburg and meeting the actors/singers brought the whole story to life and the music too.

    England now shows original shows in various cinemas across the country and they also involve talks by the singers before the show.

    Thank you for this informative article

    1. Thanks for your nice comment. Yes, for us it’s really great to get to know the singers and musicians, especially since the Frankfurt Opera has a strong ensemble with lots of English, American and Canadian singers.

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