The Merola Opera Program – regarded as one of the most prestigious and selective opera training programs in the United States – presents the Grand Finale of its Summer Festival at the War Memorial Opera House on Saturday evening.
Celebrating its 60th anniversary, this tremendously popular training program has given 23 aspiring opera stars, five apprentice coaches and one apprentice stage director – selected from hundreds of hopeful applicants – a 12-week intensive program to prepare them for a career in the world of opera.
In Saturday’s performance, these Merolini (as they’re known) will present staged scenes and musical excerpts from Donizetti’s La fille du régiment, Lucia di Lammermoor and La favorite; Massenet’s Cendrillon, Verdi’s I vespri siciliani, Rossini’s Le comte Ory and Il viaggio a Reims, Lehár’s Das Land des Lächelns, Richard Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos, Berg’s Wozzeck, Boito’s Mefistofele, Thomas’ Mignon, Bizet’s Les pêcheurs de perles, Mozart’s Così fan tutte, Britten’s The Turn of the Screw and Handel’s Rodelinda – a wide ranging repertoire, which will certainly highlight the versatility of the group.
The orchestra will be led by Antony Walker, Music Director of Pittsburgh Opera, who has appeared with companies in the United States, Europe and Australia, and conducted over 200 operas, a number of large and smaller scale choral and orchestral works, as well as symphonic and chamber works. Among the opera houses in which he has appeared are The Metropolitan Opera, English National Opera, Welsh National Opera, Teatro Comunale di Bologna, Rome Opera, Opera Australia, Glimmerglass Opera, the Canadian Opera Company and Vancouver Opera.
Tickets are on sale at San Francisco Opera Box Office at (415) 864-3330, merola.org or www.sfopera.com. A special post-performance reception follows the Grand Finale (tickets sold separately).