Laura Prichard

Beaumarchais: Polymath: Playwright, Revolutionary, Arms Dealer


Mozart based the opera The Marriage of Figaro on the play by Frenchman Pierre Beaumarchais. Laura Pritchard gives us the full story behind the popular playwright, a man whose expertise spanned everything from watchmaking to playing the harp to spying for the French revolutionaries.

Join us on March 17th

7:30 pm — 8:30 pm


Laura Stanfield Prichard has lectured regularly for the San Francisco Symphony and Opera since 1996. She is the Principal Pre-Concert Speaker for the Chicago Symphony, Berkshire Choral International, and Boston Baroque, writes editorial prefaces for 18th-20th-century musical scores (Musikproduktion Höflich, Munich, Germany), and was a finalist for the 2015 Pauline Alderman Award for outstanding writing on women and music and the 2019 Kurt Weill Award for writing on contemporary musical theater. 

Laura holds a PhD (Musicology) and MM (Choral Music) from the University of Illinois and BAs in Music and Modern Languages from Yale. She sings regularly with the San Francisco Symphony Chorus and Tanglewood Festival Chorus of the Boston Symphony and served as a board member for Choral Arts New England (2008-2015). Her twenty-five continuous years of college teaching includes seminars in music, dance, and art history at CSU-East Bay (Hayward), San Francisco State University, Northeastern University, and the University of Massachusetts.

The Boston Musical Intelligencer sent her to Cuba in 2015 as a foreign correspondent, and she has reviewed concerts for them since 2010. She was the President of the Pacific Chapter of the College Music Society (1996-98) and Assistant Conductor of the San Francisco Symphony Chorus under Vance George (1995-2003).

Recent research includes invited lectures at Harvard, Oxford, Goldsmiths-London, and NYU and conference papers in Russia, Ireland, Wales, Hawai‘i, and Newfoundland on choral and ballet music. Her more than 300 translations of song and choral texts are available through She contributed three dozen entries to the Encyclopedia of Latin American Popular Music (2012), the landmark revision of the multi-volume New Grove Dictionary of American Music (2013), Music Around the World (2019), and the forthcoming SAGE Encyclopedia Music and Culture (2019).