Little Opera

According to a recent study from the US Department of Education, only 4% of elementary schools provide any kind of theater arts instruction. This is down from 20% only a decade ago. That's just one reason that San Francisco’s Little Opera is so extraordinary.  


Little Opera is an after-school program that leads local children through the creation and performance of an original opera. This past year, the program's third season, kids in first through fifth grade met twice a week for nine months at West Portal Elementary School.

San Francisco composer Erling Wold’s new chamber opera, Certitude & Joy, opens this week. The opera is a semi-autobiographical work that mixes Wold's personal struggle with religious faith with a real-life San Francisco. Wold is a renowned composer – his pieces have been played from the Bay Area to Bulgaria. He’s also an accomplished computer scientist, with multiple software patents to his name.

KALW’s Jen Chien spoke with Erling Wold about how he balances art and science, and about the effort to make meaning out of tragedy, through music.