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.

The 23rd round of Frankfurt OperaTalk is taking place as scheduled on five Monday evenings in the spring of 2018: February 19, March 5 and 19, April 16 and May 7, 2018. The course number for the spring semester is 2302-13.

Since the course has already begun, it no longer appears on the VHS website. Enrollment is still possible, however, by way of:
Telephone: 069 212-71501
Post: VHS Frankfurt am Main, Sonnemannstraße 13, 60314 Frankfurt
Fax: 069 212-71500
To enroll, please state the course number (2302-13), your name, address, telephone number, debit authorization with account number and bank details (IBAN and BIC) and your signature.

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 88 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

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.

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