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Merola Opera Program Concludes Its 64th Season With THE MEROLA GRAND FINALE

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This free concert will feature 27 gifted artists, selected from more than 800 international applicants to participate in this year's program.

Merola Opera Program Concludes Its 64th Season With THE MEROLA GRAND FINALE

The public will have the opportunity to enjoy live performances by the opera stars of tomorrow in a free outdoor performance, when the acclaimed Merola Opera Program presents its 2021 Summer Festival Merola Grand Finale at the Golden Gate Park Bandshell. This free concert will feature 27 gifted artists, selected from more than 800 international applicants to participate in this year's program.

The 2021 Merola Stage Director Audrey Chait will direct her fellow young artists in a thrilling array of selections from some of opera's most brilliant works. The Merola Grand Finale will be presented 2:00pm, Saturday, July 31, at the Golden Gate Park Bandshell, John F. Kennedy Drive and Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive, San Francisco. Admission is FREE and open to the public. (Limited reserved seating is available for Merola members Gold Circle and above.)

The concert will also be recorded, with free streaming on-demand available to Merola members beginning August 20, and to the public beginning September 3. For more information or to become a Merola member, visit www.merola.org.

The Merola Grand Finale will showcase the singers and pianists in an array of duets, quartets, and ensemble selections from a panoply of operas including Carmen, L'elisir d'amore, Don Giovanni, The Rake's Progress, Semele, Roméo et Juliette, Faust, Pagliacci, Rigoletto, Béatrice et Bénédict, La bohème, Der Rosenkavalier, Il barbiere di Siviglia, Florencia en el Amazonas, and Die Fledermaus. Musical accompaniment will be provided by this year's outstanding pianist participants.

Performers include:

· Bryan Banowetz, pianist/coach

· Gabrielle Barkidjija, mezzo-soprano

· Gabrielle Beteag, mezzo-soprano

· Emily Blair, soprano

· Ben Brady, bass-baritone

· Victor Cardamone, tenor

· Andrew Dwan, bass-baritone

· Catherine Goode, soprano

· Edward Graves, tenor

· Erica Xiaoyan Guo, pianist/coach

· Gabriel Hernandez, tenor

· Magdalena Kuźma, soprano

· Philippe L'Esperance, tenor

· Thomas Lynch, baritone

· Jesse Mashburn, mezzo-soprano

· Samson McCrady, baritone

· Celeste Morales, soprano

· Nikola Printz, mezzo-soprano

· Laureano Quant, baritone

· Ashley Marie Robillard, soprano

· Mikayla Sager, soprano

· Anna Smigelskaya, pianist/coach

· Shiyu Tan, pianist/coach

· Johanna Will, soprano

· Marika Yasuda, pianist/coach

· Tianchi Zhang, tenor

The concert will be staged by 2021 Merola Stage Director Audrey Chait, whose recent directing credits include the world premiere of Marie Begins for Westminster Opera Theater (online release) as well her new adaptation of L'elisir d'amore for Tri-Cities Opera. Other works include The Telephone for Parea Recital Series (online release), Gallantry for Northern Kentucky University (online release), Don Pasquale for Opera Las Vegas, and L'inganno felice for Opera Southwest. Chait's production of L'elisir d'amore for Winter Opera St. Louis was also nominated for a St. Louis Theater Circle Award for Best Opera. She holds a BA in Literary Arts from Brown University and an Artist Diploma from University of Cincinnati's College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) and is the current Resident Director of the Parea Recital Series.

The Merola Opera Program is widely regarded as the foremost opera training program for aspiring singers, pianist/coaches, and stage directors. Merola nurtures the opera stars of tomorrow with master classes and private coaching with opera's most accomplished singers, coaches, conductors, and directors. Participants also receive training in operatic repertoire, languages, diction, acting, stage movement, and professional development. Offered free of charge for all participants, the Merola Opera Program is unique in the industry in many ways. It is the only young artist program to provide financial support to developing artists for five years following their participation, offering aid for essential career development expenses including coaching, language classes, and audition travel. In summer 2020, the company initiated the Merola Artists Emergency Fund to offer much-needed financial assistance to those artists who lost wages and incurred unreimbursed expenses as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic.


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