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San Francisco Opera Announces Winner of Emerging Stars Competition: Baritone Lucas Meachem

San Francisco Opera announces the winner of the inaugural "Emerging Star of the Year" competition. Lucas Meachem, the American baritone who performed the role of Figaro inThe Barber of Seville (Il Barbiere di Siviglia) in Fall 2015, was named "2016 Emerging Star of the Year" based on a popular vote conducted online and through social media.

San Francisco Opera's "Emerging Stars" competition is made possible by The Emerging Stars Fund, established through a three-year, multi-million dollar gift from Company Sponsors Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem. Their gift provides crucial support for San Francisco Opera to celebrate the rising artists appearing on the War Memorial Opera House stage who are helping to make opera exciting and relevant to a new generation of audiences as they launch their careers. An important goal of the Emerging Stars Fund is to engage the community in the thrill of experiencing artists on the cusp of greatness, and to build awareness among the broader opera-going public of San Francisco Opera's leadership in nurturing and showcasing new talent. In addition to the title of "Emerging Star of the Year," the winner of the competition will receive a $10,000 cash prize.

Lucas Meachem was one of eleven artists appearing in San Francisco Opera's 2015­-16 Season with support from the Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Emerging Stars Fund. The other artists supported by the fund and featured in this competition were Malin Byström (Jen?fa/title role), Sasha Cooke (Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg/Magdalena), Leah Crocetto (Luisa Miller/title role), Michael Fabiano (Luisa Miller/Rodolfo; Don Carlo/title role), Brian Jagde (Carmen/Don José), Daniela Mack (Il Barbiere di Siviglia/Rosina), Brian Mulligan (Sweeney Todd/title role; Lucia di Lammermoor/Enrico; La Chute de la Maison Usher and Usher House/title roles), Alek Shrader (Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg/David), Nadine Sierra (Lucia di Lammermoor/title role;The Magic Flute/Pamina) and Heidi Stober (Sweeney Todd/Johanna).

"Jan and I were so excited when we learned that Lucas won the first 'Emerging Star of the Year' competition," said Maria Manetti Shrem. "We are committed to celebrating young artists on-the-rise at San Francisco Opera, because they are essential to keeping the art form fresh and exciting. We are thrilled to inaugurate this competition, and to give a special award to Lucas for his amazing work last fall in Il Barbiere di Siviglia."

Jan Shrem continued, "Maria and I are so inspired by these young artists at San Francisco Opera. They work so hard and they inspire us with their dedication and talent. I am happy to raise awareness for them through the 'Emerging Stars' competition. Lucas Meachem sets a wonderful example for other rising stars in the opera world. Bravo Lucas!"

Upon learning the results, Lucas Meachem said: "It took my talent, hard work and effort to get to this point, but it took the support of my amazing friends, family and fans to win. Thank you to all who voted. Community is fundamental to the progression of opera and I am a lucky guy to have such an amazing one. Thank you, San Francisco Opera, for continuing to provide opportunities to so many incredibly talented artists. Congratulations to all of the nominees-can't wait to share the stage with you all soon-and thanks especially to Jan and Maria Shrem!"

Lucas Meachem's Company appearances also include the title roles of Don Giovanni and Eugene Onegin, Fritz and Frank (Die Tote Stadt) and Count Almaviva (Le Nozze di Figaro). Recent engagements include his debut with the Los Angeles Philharmonic as Silvio (Pagliacci) with Maestro Gustavo Dudamel; Silvio in his return to the Metropolitan Opera for a new production of Pagliacci; his role debut as Corigliano's Figaro inThe Ghosts of Versailles with Los Angeles Opera; and a European revival tour of Tchaikovsky's Iolanta with soprano Anna Netrebko. A frequent collaborator with Lyric Opera of Chicago, his roles there include Oreste (Iphigénie en Tauride), Valentin (Faust) and Demetrius (A Midsummer Night's Dream). He has also appeared with Vienna State Opera (Il Barbiere di Siviglia/title role); Opéra National de Paris (Billy Budd/title role); Royal Opera House, Covent Garden (La Bohème/Marcello and Dido & Aeneas/Aeneas) and the Glyndebourne Festival (Don Giovanni/title role). A former San Francisco Opera Adler Fellow and Merola Opera Program alumnus, Meachem returns to the Company this Fall as Dr. Malatesta in Don Pasquale.

San Francisco Opera conducted the people's choice vote from June 22 through the end of the summer opera season on July 3, informing subscribers and single ticket-holders about the competition throughout the season in print and electronic media channels. The Company invited the broader public to participate through its website and social media outreach, and the competition was promoted to the 28,000 attendees at Opera at the Ballpark on July 2 during the live simulcast of Carmen at AT&T Park. Over 15,000 online votes were cast for the 2016 Emerging Stars Competition.

Nominees for the 2017 "Emerging Star of the Year" competition will be announced at a later date.

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