Opera Philadelphia

Opera on Trial

Opera on Trial is a ground-breaking initiative in which high school students examine the greatest operas through a legal lens.  

Opera on Trial is an in-school residency program that begins with students preparing for and attending an Opera Philadelphia production at the Academy of Music. With guidance from company Teaching Artists and local legal professionals, students take a critical look into the opera’s plot to analyze character motivations and the elements that drive a character to commit a crime.  

Beyond the classroom setting, students participate in an exclusive on-stage return to the “scene of the crime,” conduct interviews with cast members, and review physical evidence. The program culminates in an official mock trial presided over by an esteemed Philadelphia-area judge. 

Opera on Trial facilitates the connection of art with the real world. Opera becomes relevant through practical associations and present-day analogies. Students have a deeper interest in the opera by engaging in this unique study of the many intricacies in the plot. 

While this program is designed for students in criminal justice courses, it can also be an effective way to work across the school curriculum and introduce legal concepts. With opportunities for drama, history, language arts, and government students, the program is truly interdisciplinary. 

To learn more about Opera on Trial, call 215.893.5925 or email education@operaphila.org.


“Opera Philadelphia’s ‘Opera on Trial’ program benefitted our law students by allowing them to further develop their mock trial skills, while at the same time introducing them to an art form they knew little or nothing about. It was an amazing experience that will have a lasting influence on them.” - Kyle Riley, Law & Criminal Justice Program Coordinator, Esperanza Academy Charter School


Read more about Opera on Trial.

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