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ARCHIVED: How Do We Listen, Anyway?

a five-part workshop series and pilot program


July 21–August 18, 2021

Wednesdays 8:00–9:00 p.m. EDT over Zoom

Free to participate – suggested donation $10/class



Ever wondered: “How do I get into opera?” or maybe “I’m curious about opera, but I don’t understand it—what is opera, anyway?” or even “I like opera, but how can I deepen my interest?”


One often overlooked approach to deepening our musical experiences is the way we listen to music. There is a world of emotional meaning and musical understanding that opera opens to us—when we open our ears to it.


The way we listen changes the experiences we have.


In this five-part workshop series, designed for newcomers and seasoned opera lovers alike, you’ll explore new ways to listen to old favourites and to discover more in the music you love.


You’ll also learn how the way you listen is the only tool you need to begin a journey into the world of opera.

Workshop Structure

Live classes include:

  • Interactive and lecture-style presentations: Your workshop facilitator will share different perspectives on music listening, ask questions, and invite you to reflect on these ideas.

  • Mindfulness-based music listening: Each class includes a mindfulness-based listening activity, as we explore some of the classic and lesser-known opera repertoire.

  • Participatory musical activities: Sometimes you’ll be invited to hum or sing, tap a rhythm, or keep a steady beat in your body.


Don’t worry, though – you are always free to simply listen.


Bonus! We offer you the opportunity for a judgment-free Q&A: Ask any question you have ever had about opera, and you’ll have access to the entire “What Is Opera, Anyway?” team to answer it.

Class Schedule

Additional Benefits

  • Flexible participation: Join in our live Zoom classes or watch them on your own time.

  • Open, welcoming setting: No question is the “wrong” question. If you have ever wondered something about opera, now is your chance to ask it!

  • Free to participate: No financial barrier to entry. If within your budget, we suggest a $10/class donation.


  • Connect with others who are interested in opera: Exploring music with other like-minded individuals is a great way to build community and find inspiration.

  • Discover your own responses to the question, “What is Opera, Anyway?”: Listening is central to how we encounter opera and explore its stories, themes, and meanings.

  • Kickstart, build, or rejuvenate your listening playlist: Listening with “new ears” opens you to a rewarding life-long journey of musical discovery.


  • Notice more in any music you hear: The ideas and approaches in this workshop series apply not only to opera, but to works by all composers and artists.

  • Build your own discernment: As you perceive more in the music, your trust in your own musical instincts will grow.

  • Listening builds musicianship: Music is not only a skill but a universal human behavior. Each of us has musical potential, and listening with purpose develops our natural musical abilities.


Wednesday July 21

8-9 pm Eastern*

Why does music listening matter?

An introduction to mindfulness-based music listening techniques.


Wednesday July 28

8-9 pm Eastern*

What is music listening?

How are we touched by, and how do we make sense of, what we hear?

What are some acoustic barriers we might encounter?

What are some historical precedents for, and contemporary music education approaches to, music listening?


Wednesday August 4

8-9 pm Eastern*

Practical ideas for deepening your listening experience at the opera.


Wednesday August 11

8-9 pm Eastern*

Guest interview with contralto and music educator, Heather Meyers, centered on the values, ethics, and responsibilities of the singer and music listener.


Wednesday August 18

8-9 pm Eastern*

Listening like a musician. What is audiation, and why is it central to how a musician listens?

Important Information

*Sessions will be recorded and made available on YouTube following each class.

​This workshop is a pilot program. We value your feedback and will ask you to complete a short survey after the third and last classes, as well as a follow-up survey six months later, to help us develop our curriculum.

Meet Our Team

Stephania Headshot 1.jpg

Mezzo-soprano Stephania Romaniuk has sung professionally with opera companies, as a soloist with orchestras and ensembles, and in recital in North America and Europe. A past winner of the Calgary Performing Arts Festival Rose Bowl, her roles include Mercédès (cover) (Carmen), Miles (The Turn of the Screw), Sandman (Hansel and Gretel), and Lily (The Secret Garden).


She has developed innovative curriculum as a Calgary Board of Education Resident Artist and teaching artist for “What Is Opera, Anyway?” She currently works as a teaching artist for Calgary Opera, where she has led projects including mindful music listening sessions for healthcare workers, a cross-cultural music sharing group for immigrant women, and a song-writing project for high school students.


Stephania recently completed her Master’s degree in Music Education at the Eastman School of Music where she was awarded the Teaching Assistant Prize for group voice instruction. She designed a pre-concert listening workshop series for the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra for her thesis and conducted additional research on Nadia Boulanger’s pedagogy of music listening.


She continues to serve as research assistant for several projects with Eastman School of Music faculty and will present at the 2021 College Music Society National Conference in Rochester, NY.

Stephania Romaniuk
Workshop Facilitator


Heather Meyers
Guest Lecturer

Heather Meyers, contralto, has performed with many of the most eminent opera companies throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe, including: La Scala, Milan, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Washington National Opera, San Francisco Opera, Opera Company of Philadelphia and Oper Bonn. She made her Carnegie Hall debut in Mendelssohn's Elijah and has also been heard in New York at Alice Tully Hall and at Teatro San Babila, and La Scala Teatro Piccolo in Milan, Italy.


Ms Meyers has sung as soloist with the Mostly Mozart Orchestra (New York), WDR Orchestra (Cologne, Germany) , Boston Symphony, Baltimore Symphony and most recently, Edmonton Symphony. She has performed with such distinguished conductors as Sir Andrew Davis, Donald Runnicles, Raymond Leppard, Marco Armiliato and Seiji Ozawa. After having sung for Maestro James Levine, Ms Meyers was contracted for eight productions at the Metropolitan Opera. Other concerts and recitals have taken her to Brazil, Washington D.C., Vienna, Cologne, and Canada.

Ms Meyers has won numerous awards and competitions worldwide, including: The Metropolitan

Opera Council, The Enrico Caruso Competition in New York, The International Vocal Competition in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, The Puccini Foundation, The Wagner Society of New York and The Matheus Sullivan Foundation of New York.


Ms Meyers has studied with some of the greatest pedagogues and artists of our time, including: Mr. Edward Zambara, Hans Hotter, Guilietta Simionato and John Wustman. She earned a Master of Music degree with Mr. Edward Zambara at the St. Louis Conservatory of Music and continued her studies with Mr. Zambara in the highly selective Artist Diploma program at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston. She is also an alumna of the world's foremost school of Lieder, the Franz-Schubert-Institut in Baden bei Wien, Austria.


Ms Meyers is a dedicated teacher and lecturer whose students have performed on such world stages as the Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Glyndebourne Festival, Glimmerglass Opera, L'Opera de Montréal and the former New York City Opera. Her students have won regional and international competitions including: Operalia,Wagner Societies of New York and Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and the Merola Opera Program. Many of her students have attended distinguished schools and programs worldwide. She is a specialist in teaching Bel Canto and Lyric Diction and has twelve years of experience directing and administrating opera programs, classes in music history, chamber music and vocal repertoire.


Ms Meyers has given numerous masterclasses and lectures and raised funds for worthy charities and arts organizations. She has taught at Barnard College in New York, University of Hartford Connecticut as a guest lecturer and master teacher and assisted the distinguished opera director, Colin Graham at the St. Louis Conservatory of Music. She has taught at the University of Lethbridge, the University of Alberta, Camrose and at Grant McEwan University Alberta College Conservatory and is the Founder and Director of the Vocal Arts Institute of Alberta Summer Chamber Music Festival which focuses on German Lieder and the music of J.S. Bach. She has served on numerous juries and boards and continues to work tirelessly to create events and programs that educate and inspire audiences and the next generation.

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