Merola Opera Program Continues Summer Festival Season With Schwabacher Summer Concert

The concert will be presented at 7:30pm, Thursday July 11, and 2:00pm, Saturday, July 13.

By: May. 30, 2024
Merola Opera Program Continues Summer Festival Season With Schwabacher Summer Concert
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Bay Area audiences are invited to revel in the passion and melody of classic opera, as the young artists of the 2024 Merola Opera Program perform extended scenes from Donizetti's Lucrezia Borgia, Gounod's Faust, Leoncavallo's Pagliacci, Massenet's Cendrillon, Puccini's La bohème, and Richard Strauss' Ariadne auf Naxos. Performed with a full orchestra, the Schwabacher Summer Concert will be conducted by internationally acclaimed conductor Louis Lohraseb, with staging by Omer Ben Seadia (Merola ‘14).  Assisting in this program is the up-and-coming stage director, choreographer, and Merola participant Anna Theodosakis (Merola ‘24) who will stage the excerpt from La bohème. The Schwabacher Summer Concert, the second production in the Merola Opera Program’s Summer Festival, will be presented at 7:30pm, Thursday July 11, and 2:00pm, Saturday, July 13, at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music Caroline H. Hume Concert Hall, 50 Oak St., San Francisco. For more information or to purchase tickets ($35/$65 - single tickets, $10 for ages 25 and under or those attending their first Merola production), visit merola.org/summer or call the San Francisco Box Office at 415-864-3330. 

The Merola artists featured in the Schwabacher Summer Concert include sopranos Hannah Cho, Alexa Frankian, Elizabeth “Hanje” Hanje, Mary Hoskins, and Tessa McQueen; mezzo-sopranos Lucy Joy Altus, Simona Genga, Lindsay Martin, and Kara Morgan; tenors Nathan Bryon, Giorgi Guliashvili, Angelo Silva, and Samuel White; baritones Sihao Hu and Olivier Zerouali; and bass-baritone Benjamin Sokol. 

The program features a selection from Gaetano Donizetti’s Lucrezia Borgia, libretto by Felice Romani. Based on the play by Victor Hugo, this work follows the infamous daughter of Pope Alexander VI and her tragic encounter with the young nobleman Gennaro with whom she shares a secret history. Also on the bill is a scene from Jules Massenet’s charming Cendrillon, libretto by Henri Cain. A retelling of the classic fairytale Cinderella, Massenet’s account frames the heroine as a passionate, determined orphan who would rather die than live without her love, whilst her Prince conjures a softer romantic hero than in other versions. Added to the mix are relentless stepsisters, a tough-as-nails stepmother, a magical fairy godmother, and an ineffectual father for a rollicking good tale. 

The concert moves from fairytale to verismo with a scene from Pagliacci, Ruggero Leoncavallo’s story of love, heartbreak, and betrayal. Set among a traveling commedia dell‘arte troupe in Southern Italy, the opera follows the simmering passions of the jealous director, the leading lady, and her lover, and features some of the most dramatic music in the operatic canon. Act III of Giacomo Puccini’s La bohème, libretto by Giuseppe Giacosa and Luigi Illica, will also be featured.In 1830’s Paris, young artists debate, drink, and struggle for existence, in this classic love story.  

Also on the program is a scene from the meta opera about an opera, Richard Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos, libretto by Hugo von Hofmannsthal. This 1912 workcombines commedia dell‘arte with opera seria as it depicts an opera company forced to work with a burlesque troupe in staging a Greek myth. The Schwabacher Summer Concert rounds out with the entire third act of Charles Gounod’s gorgeous French-Romantic Faust, libretto by Jules Barbier. Ranging from lyrical and playful to sardonic and chilling, the work centers on Faust’s fixation on the beautiful Marguerite, for whom he makes a bargain with the devil– bringing ruin to them both. 




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