Summer Institute for Educators 2022

Mythology and Metamorphosis: Enduring Transformational Journeys

July 18-21, 2022
Metropolitan Arts Center – 126 N. Main St., Dayton, OH

Read the 2022 Institute Evaluation Report Summer Institute Agenda

We use storytelling to forge meaning from life’s challenges. And when stories connect us to universal human experiences, they’re retold and reinvented, connecting past and present and sparking new perspectives. Working hand in hand with presenters and teaching artists associated with the Metropolitan Opera Guild’s educational programs and New Orlean’s OperaCréole, teachers will develop powerful storytelling methods to achieve learning objectives in their own classrooms!

Explore guiding questions that will frame the year’s professional development series:

  • Why do we retell stories?
  • How does adaptation reveal or complicate the connection between past and present? What is its role in the construction of history and myth?
  • In what ways can archetypes help us to understand ourselves and each other?
  • In what ways can archetypes be damaging?
  • What does it mean to be transformed by love? By loss?
  • Can ancient stories, characters, scenarios and conflicts have meaning for modern audiences?
  • What does opera reveal about the culture and time period in which it was created? What does opera reveal about our culture today?

Activities will be accessible, relevant and fun for teachers of all grade levels, subject areas and musical proclivity. (Participation at last year’s institute is not a prerequisite!)

As Muse has done in the past, institute artists will continue to offer year-round professional development for all teachers through curriculum development workshops. The Muse staff and teaching artists will support teachers as they bring institute-inspired activities into their learning approaches and celebrate the creative spirit that lies within all students.

Teachers attending the institute can earn 28 seat hours and/or three University of Dayton credit hours.

This project is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Companion Book List

Muse has partnered with the Dayton Metro Library to create a book list for students in grades three to 12. The books are international in scope, appealing to teachers and their students and emphasize how authors and artists plumb myth, fables and other archetypal stories to express new ideas about the world while making sense of universal human experiences.

Suggested Reading for Adults Suggested Reading for Teens Suggested Reading for Children Grades 3-6


Participant Meet & Greet and Opera Watch Party

Institute participants are invited to join Muse on Sunday, July 17 for a free screening of this summer’s pillar opera, La Traviata, courtesy of the Metropolitan Opera. Meet your fellow institute participants and learn more about how your school can participate in the Met’s HD Live in Schools program through Muse Machine. More details are included on the institute registration form! Photo: Marty Sohl / Met Opera


Images from the 2022 Institute:

Summer Institute 2022 Artist Bios

Brandon Anderson is an award-winning singer/songwriter, composer/lyricist, devised theatre creator and teaching artist living in New York City. His musical theater and solo works have been performed in NYC and across the country. He has released three albums and crossed the country on two national tours. Brandon also has extensive experience in arts education, teaching for the Metropolitan Opera Guild, Lincoln Center Theater and Tectonic Theater Project. Brandon is also the Artistic Director and Dramaturg for NYU’s Tisch New Musical Theatre Workshop, which produces readings and workshop productions of new musicals in collaboration with students across the university. He holds a BA in Theatre Arts from the University of Wisconsin and an MFA in Musical Theatre Writing from NYU.

Joel Esher is a composer and music educator currently living in New York City. Esher has worked as a teaching artist for The Metropolitan Opera Guild, The Trinity Church at Wall Street, The Little Orchestra Society, Carnegie Hall, Disney Theatrical Group, The Metropolitan Opera, Dreamyard and Playwrights Horizons Theater School. His musical background and educational approach are grounded in improvisational comedy, which he has taught and/or performed with The Second City, ComedySportz, Baby Wants Candy, The Magnet Theater, the Pit Theater and UCB. He holds a Bachelor of Music in music directing and vocal performance and opera from Northwestern University with a Certificate of Performance in Musical Theater.

As Director of School Programs and Community Engagement for the Metropolitan Opera Guild, Stuart Holt oversees all K-12 school and community/adult programming. Holt is an active lecturer, master teacher, stage director and resource in the field of opera education. Recent lecture appearances have included the Metropolitan Opera Guild and The Cosmopolitan Club-NYC, Manhattan School of Music, the American Musicological Society, Opera Volunteers International, Opera America, New York University, the Metropolitan Opera HD Live in Schools program and as a panelist and master teacher for Brown University and the University of Northern Iowa. He holds a bachelor’s degree in music education from St. Cloud State University and a master’s degree in opera production from Florida State University.

As Founder and Artistic Director of the award-winning OperaCréole, Givonna Joseph has dedicated her career to researching and performing lost or rarely performed works by composers of African descent. Joseph’s research has been featured in The New Yorker, Southern Living magazine and on NPR. In 2018 she created an original opera, The Lions of Reconstruction: From Black Codes to the Ballot Box, in honor of New Orleans’ tricentennial. She teaches private voice and specializes in arts integration using the science of music and Creole culture. Accolades for her company’s cultural contributions include honors from The Gambit-affiliated Classical Arts Awards and the Coalition for African Americans in the Performing Arts (CAAPA) of Washington, D.C.

Jenny Stafford is an award-winning book writer, lyricist, playwright, poet and essayist whose works have been published and heard on Broadway, regionally and internationally. Broadway credits include Cirque du Soleil’s Paramour and Off Broadway: The Artist and Scientist and Two Bugs are Better than One. Her work has been featured at Lincoln Center, Joe’s Pub, Ars Nova, 54 Below among others as well as many national and international festivals. She is the winner of the 2017 Reva Shiner Comedy Award, 2021 ASCAP Plus Award, Best Solo Performance Award, and winner of the Ronald M. Ruble New Play Competition. Stafford’s work focuses on three areas: 1) women’s stories/issues, 2) history and 3) underrepresented populations. She is interested in telling stories that are funny, until they aren’t. She is passionate about telling stories that make you look at the person next to you in a different, more compassionate light—stories of empathy.

Molly Walz is thrilled to be participating in this year’s summer institute after spending years in Muse Machine as a student. A graduate of Beavercreek High School and Kent State University, Molly is now a NYC based costume designer, wardrobe supervisor, and tailor who has been working professionally for the last 15 years. She has designed for theater companies throughout the country (including Dayton’s own Human Race Theatre Company) and spent years touring nationally and internationally as a wardrobe supervisor with shows like Rent: 20th Anniversary Tour and White Christmas. Recently, Molly was a staff wardrobe supervisor for the Metropolitan Opera and worked on several productions we will be discussing as examples in this year’s institute. Currently, Molly is a tailor for Tina: the Tina Turner Musical on Broadway and The Equalizer on CBS and is a proud member of IATSE local 764.