2018 Schwabacher Recital Series Presents Pianist Kevin Murphy And More

2018 Schwabacher Recital Series Presents Pianist Kevin Murphy And MoreThe 2018 Schwabacher Recital Series concludes on April 4 with pianist Kevin Murphy and a quartet of current San Francisco Opera Adler Fellows-soprano Natalie Image, mezzo-soprano Ashley Dixon, tenor Amitai Pati and bass-baritone Christian Pursell-in a program celebrating the great American composer/conductor Leonard Bernstein and music of Aaron Copland, Charles Ives and Gustav Mahler.

"We are thrilled to have Kevin Murphy, the esteemed collaborative pianist and director of Ravinia's Steans Music Institute Program for Singers, bringing the 35th anniversary season of the Schwabacher Recitals to a rousing close," said San Francisco Opera Center Director Sheri Greenawald. "What I love about Kevin's work is his spontaneity with the music. He really lets the singers sing. The details are there, no stone unturned in delving into the depths of meaning, but Kevin understands that the vocalism must always be free."

The recital program draws from all facets of Bernstein's vocal works, from early compositions (Psalm 148) to selections from Songfest and Mass, his one-act opera Trouble in Tahiti, the theater masterworks West Side Story and Candide and more. Also featured are the music of American pioneers Charles Ives (General William Booth Enters Into Heaven) and Aaron Copland (songs from Twelve Poems of Emily Dickinson) and songs from Gustav Mahler's Rückert Lieder and Des Knaben Wunderhorn.

"One of the most exciting things that Leonard Bernstein's centennial offers us is the chance to hear the breadth of his work as a composer in so many genres," said Mark Morash, San Francisco Opera Center's Director of Musical Studies. "It has been a banner year not only for his theater pieces but also for orchestral songs and some of his more intimate and personal pieces for voice and piano. This program also reminds us of the music that inspired him and surrounded him as he himself was creating."

A leading figure in the world of classical vocal music, Kevin Murphy also serves on the faculty of Indiana University Opera Theater and Jacobs School of Music. In addition to his on- and off-stage partnership with his wife, soprano Heidi Grant Murphy, he has collaborated in recitals and concerts around the world with artists such as Cecilia Bartoli, Lawrence Brownlee, Iestyn Davies, Plácido Domingo, Gerald Finley, Renée Fleming and El?na Garan?a. Murphy is also sought after for his work as a private vocal coach and teacher and has taught at institutions including San Francisco Opera Center, Merola Opera Program, Tanglewood Music Center and the Juilliard School.

Soprano Natalie Image (Merola 2017) sang Clorinda in Merola's production of Rossini's La Cenerentola and last December performed the title role in the North American premiere of Alma Deutscher's Cinderella with Opera San José. Mezzo-soprano Ashley Dixon's (Merola 2015/2017) Merola roles include Popova in The Bear, La Ciesca in Gianni Schicchi and Mrs. Nolan in The Medium. Tenor Amitai Pati (Merola 2016) will appear in several San Francisco Opera productions next season including Pagliacci (Beppe) and Roberto Devereux (Lord Cecil), and he is also a member of the internationally successful New Zealand vocal trio SOL3 MIO. Bass-baritone Christian Pursell (Merola 2017), who garnered acclaim last month for his Schwabacher Recital performance of Brahms' Die schöne Magelone with soprano Felicia Moore, makes his Company debut next season appearing in Roberto Devereux (Walter Raleigh), Arabella (Count Lamoral) and It's a Wonderful Life (Angel Quartet).

Since 1983, the Schwabacher Recital Series has introduced opera's next generation of stars to Bay Area audiences. Presented by San Francisco Opera Center and Merola Opera Program, the recitals provide significant opportunities for emerging singers to explore song repertoire spanning Baroque masterpieces and Romantic-era classics to newly commissioned works. The annual series showcases participants of the prestigious training programs of San Francisco Opera Center and Merola Opera Program, whose performance-oriented residencies offer intensive individual coaching and performance opportunities to gifted young professional artists.

The series is endowed in perpetuity by the generosity of the late James Schwabacher and sponsored by the Jack H. Lund Charitable Trust. A celebrated Bay Area singer, recitalist, scholar and teacher, James Schwabacher was a co-founder of the Merola Opera Program.

Tickets & Information

Recitals take place at the Dianne and Tad Taube Atrium Theater, a state-of-the-art performance venue utilizing the Constellation acoustic system from Berkeley-based Meyer Sound. The Taube Atrium Theater is part of San Francisco Opera's Diane B. Wilsey Center for Opera, located on the fourth floor of the Veterans Building (401 Van Ness Avenue) in San Francisco.

Tickets (general seating) are $30 and available through the San Francisco Opera Box Office in person, by phone at (415) 864-3330 and online at sfopera.com. Student rush tickets, subject to availability, are available for $15 at the Taube Atrium Theater 30 minutes prior to the recital (limit of two tickets per person; valid ID is required).

Artists and program subject to change.

Yamaha is the official piano of San Francisco Opera. Pianos generously provided by Piedmont Piano Company.

For more information about the San Francisco Opera Center and Merola Opera Program, visit sfopera.com and merola.org.


Presented by San Francisco Opera Center and Merola Opera Program

Wednesday, April 4 at 7:30 p.m. (final recital of the 2018 series)

Taube Atrium Theater

Veterans Building (Fourth Floor), 401 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco

Kevin Murphy, piano

Natalie Image, soprano

Ashley Dixon, mezzo-soprano

Amitai Pati, tenor

Christian Pursell, bass-baritone


Leonard Bernstein / Psalm 148

Leonard Bernstein / Two Love Songs

Leonard Bernstein / "I Go On" from Mass

Leonard Bernstein / From Songfest -

A Julia de Burgos

Zizi's Lament

To What You Said

Leonard Bernstein / La Bonne Cuisine

Gustav Mahler / Selected Rückert Lieder and Des Knaben Wunderhorn songs -

Ich atmet' einen linden Duft

Liebst du um Schönheit


Charles Ives / General William Booth Enters Into Heaven

Aaron Copland / From Twelve Poems of Emily Dickinson -

Heart, We Will Forget Him

I've Heard an Organ Talk Sometimes

Leonard Bernstein / From West Side Story -


I Feel Pretty

Leonard Bernstein / From Trouble in Tahiti -

There's A Law

What A Movie!

Leonard Bernstein / From Candide -

We Are Women

Oh, Happy We

Make Our Garden Grow

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