Release date: 3/11/2014

2014 Schwabacher Debut Recitals continue March 30 with In The Memory Palace presented by New York Festival of Song's Steven Blier

With Adler Fellows Maria Valdes, Zanda Švēde, A.J. Glueckert and Hadleigh Adams

Photos Available
SAN FRANCISCO (March 11, 2014)—The 32nd season of the Schwabacher Debut Recitals continues on Sunday, March 30 at 5:30 p.m. at Temple Emanu-El’s Martin Meyer Sanctuary with New York Festival of Song's Steven Blier presenting In The Memory Palace. Blier will be joined on stage by current Adler Fellows soprano Maria Valdes, mezzo-soprano Zanda Švēde, tenor A.J. Glueckert and baritone Hadleigh Adams.
 
The eclectic program of ensemble and solo pieces includes British composer Frank Bridge’s “Go not, happy day” and “Dweller in my Deathless Dreams”; musical theater icon Stephen Sondheim’s “Two Fairy Tales” from his musical Marry Me A Little; selections from Floresta do Amazonas by composer Heitor Villa-Lobos; William Sterndale Bennett’s “Come live with me”; Wilhelm Stenhammar’s “I Seraillets Have”; selections from Edvard Grieg’s  Six Songs, Opus 48; and R&B singer–songwriter Smokey Robinson’s “You’ve Really Got a Hold On Me.”
 
A highlight of the program will be contemporary American composer Gabriel Kahane’s The Memory Palace, performed by Adler Fellow baritone Hadleigh Adams. Steven Blier commented “Memory Palace reunites us with one of today's greatest songwriters, Gabriel Kahane, who combines a refreshingly modern sensibility with the refinement and compositional skill of his greatest forbears: Elvis Costello mated with Gabriel Fauré.”
 
New York Festival of Song’s artistic director, renowned accompanist and vocal coach Steven Blier co-founded the Festival in 1988. Since New York Festival of Song’s inception, Blier has programmed, performed, translated and annotated more than 130 vocal recitals, with repertoire spanning the entire range of American song, as well as art song from Schubert to Szymanowski and early vaudeville to Lennon–McCartney. Blier is on the faculty of the Juilliard School and has been active in encouraging young recitalists at summer programs, including the Wolf Trap Opera Company, San Francisco Opera Center and the Merola Opera Program.
 
A first-year Adler Fellow, soprano Maria Valdes recently appeared as Susanna in Merola Opera Program’s 2013 production of Le Nozze di Figaro. An award-winner in the regional Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions, Valdes is also the winner of the top prize at the Corbett Opera Scholarship Competition at the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. Mezzo-soprano Zanda Švēde, also a first-year Adler Fellow, has studied at the Latvian Academy of Music in Riga, the Manhattan Summer Voice Festival in New York, Scuola Italia in Italy, and the Tyrolean Opera Program in Austria. A second-year Adler Fellow, tenor A.J. Glueckert made his San Francisco Opera debut as a Preacher and a Follower in the world premiere of The Gospel of Mary Magdalene last summer. In fall of 2013 he appeared as Mr. Knox in Dolores Claiborne, the Steersman in Der Fliegende Holländer and Ambrogio in Il Barbiere di Siviglia and The Barber of Seville for Families.  Baritone Hadleigh Adams, also a second year-Adler Fellow, made his Company debut last summer as Luther and Schlemil in Les Contes d’Hoffmann. Most recently Adams appeared as Mr. Fox and Teenage Boy in Dolores Claiborne and as the Officer in Il Barbiere di Siviglia and The Barber of Seville for Families.
 
The Schwabacher Debut Recitals are endowed in perpetuity by the generosity of the late James Schwabacher and are sponsored by the Jack H. Lund Charitable Trust. A celebrated Bay Area singer, recitalist, scholar and teacher, Schwabacher was a co-founder of the Merola Opera Program. The Schwabacher Debut Recitals have introduced the artistry of internationally recognized artists, including Susan Graham, Anna Netrebko, Deborah Voigt, Brian Asawa and Thomas Hampson.  The recitals offer a rare opportunity to hear a wealth of song literature ranging from Baroque masterpieces and Romantic-era classics to newly commissioned works, all performed by gifted young artists in an intimate setting.
 
Tickets & Information
 
All performances take place at Temple Emanu-El’s Martin Meyer Sanctuary (Two Lake Street, at Arguello, in San Francisco).  Single tickets for the Schwabacher Debut Recitals are $25.  Tickets may be purchased by calling the San Francisco Opera Box Office (Mon. 10 am-5 pm, Tues.-Sat. 10 am-6 pm) at (415) 864-3330.  Student Rush tickets are available for $15 at Temple Emanu-El 30 minutes prior to each recital (limit of two tickets per person; valid ID is required; subject to availability).  Casting, programs, schedules and ticket prices are subject to change.
 
 
2014 Schwabacher Debut Recitals
Presented by San Francisco Opera Center and the Merola Opera Program
Temple Emanu-El’s Martin Meyer Sanctuary
2 Lake Street, San Francisco
 
In The Memory Palace
Sunday, March 30, 5:30 p.m.
Steven Blier, piano
Maria Valdes, soprano
Zanda Švēde, mezzo-soprano
A.J. Glueckert, tenor
Hadleigh Adams, baritone
New York Festival of Song’s Steven Blier presents In the Memory Palace, featuring Gabriel Kahane’s The Memory Palace, and works by Frank Bridge, Stephen Sondheim, Heitor Villa-Lobos, William Sterndale Bennet, Wilhelm Stenhammar, Edvard Grieg and R&B singer–songwriter Smokey Robinson.
 
Upcoming Schwabacher Debut Recitals
 
Sunday, April 27, 5:30 p.m.
Pene Pati, tenor
Sun Ha Yoon, piano
Performing works by Roger Quilter and Paolo Tosti, accompanied by current Adler Fellow Sun Ha Yoon. 
 
 
About the Artists
 
STEVEN BLIER is artistic director of the New York Festival of Song (NYFOS), which he co-founded in 1988 with Michael Barrett. Since the Festival’s inception, Blier has programmed, performed, translated and annotated more than 130 vocal recitals with repertoire spanning the entire range of American song, art song from Schubert to Szymanowski, and popular song from early vaudeville to Lennon–McCartney. NYFOS has also made in-depth explorations of music from Spain, Latin America, Scandinavia and Russia. Blier enjoys an eminent career as an accompanist and vocal coach. His recital partners have included Renée Fleming, Cecilia Bartoli, Samuel Ramey, Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, Susan Graham, Jessye Norman and José van Dam in venues ranging from Carnegie Hall to Milan’s La Scala. He is also on the faculty of the Juilliard School and has been active in encouraging young recitalists at summer programs, including the Wolf Trap Opera Company, Santa Fe Opera, and the San Francisco Opera Center. In keeping the traditions of American music alive, Mr. Blier has brought back to the stage many of the rarely heard songs of George Gershwin, Harold Arlen, Kurt Weill and Cole Porter. He has also played ragtime, blues and stride piano evenings with John Musto. A champion of American art song, he has premiered works of John Corigliano, Paul Moravec, Ned Rorem, William Bolcom, John Musto, Richard Danielpour, Tobias Picker, Robert Beaser, Lowell Liebermann, Harold Meltzer, Lee Hoiby, and Mark Adamo, many of which were commissioned by NYFOS. His extensive discography includes the premiere recording of Leonard Bernstein’s Arias and Barcarolles (Koch International), which won a Grammy Award.
 
Soprano MARIA VALDES is a first-year Adler Fellow who recently appeared as Susanna in Merola Opera Program’s 2013 production of Le Nozze di Figaro. An award-winner in the regional Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions, Valdes is also the winner of the top prize at the Corbett Opera Scholarship Competition at the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. She has been heard in concert with ensembles including the Georgia State University Singers, the Atlanta Chamber Players, the Atlanta Sacred Chorale, Emory University choir, Bent Frequency, and the Bellingham Festival of Music in Washington. 
 
Latvian mezzo-soprano ZANDA ŠVĒDE is a first-year Adler Fellow and an alumna of the 2013 Merola Opera Program.  Roles in her repertoire include Maria (Piazolla’s Maria de Buenos Aires), Endimione (Cavalli’s La Calisto), and the title role in Massenet’s Cléopâtre. On the concert stage, she has performed solo roles in Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater, Vivaldi’s Gloria, and Liszt’s Missa Coronationalis. Švēde has studied at the Latvian Academy of Music in Riga, the Manhattan Summer Voice Festival in New York, Scuola Italia in Italy, and the Tyrolean Opera Program in Austria.
 
Tenor A.J. GLUECKERT is a second-year Adler Fellow hailing from Portland, Oregon who made his Company debut as a Preacher and a Follower in the world premiere of The Gospel of Mary Magdalene last summer. This fall, he appeared as Mr. Knox in Dolores Claiborne, the Steersman in Der Fliegende Holländer and Ambrogio in Il Barbiere di Siviglia and The Barber of Seville for Families. Glueckert is an alumnus of the 2012 Merola Opera Program, where he performed Mr. Owen in Argento’s Postcard from Morocco. As a resident artist with Minnesota Opera, he was heard as Arturo (Lucia di Lammermoor) and also created the role of the Crown Prince in the world premiere of Puts’s Silent Night. He is also a graduate of the young artist programs at Santa Fe Opera and Utah Opera. A two-time winner of the regional Metropolitan Opera National Auditions, he holds a degree from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and he appeared as the Drum Major (Wozzeck) with San Francisco’s Opera Parallèle.
 
Baritone HADLEIGH ADAMS is a second-year Adler Fellow and graduate of the 2012 Merola Opera Program. He made his Company debut last summer as Luther and Schlemil (Les Contes d’Hoffmann) and in several roles in the world premiere of The Gospel of Mary Magdalene. Most recently Adams appeared at San Francisco Opera as Mr. Fox and Teenage Boy in the world premiere of Dolores Claiborne and as the Officer in Il Barbiere di Siviglia and The Barber of Seville for Families. The New Zealand native was a member of New Zealand Opera from 2004 to 2008 and performed frequently as an oratorio soloist. He made his debut with London’s Royal National Theatre in 2011 as Christ in Bach’s St. Matthew Passion. Awards include a 2010 Joan Sutherland & Richard Bonynge Scholarship and second prize in the Australian Singing Competition. A frequent recitalist, he has performed at London’s St. Martin in the Fields and Wigmore Hall. Recent engagements include Pollux (Rameau’s Castor et Pollux) with Pinchgut Opera.
 

 About San Francisco Opera Center and Merola Opera Program

San Francisco Opera Center was created in 1982 by then-General Director Terence A. McEwen to oversee the operation and administration of the education and training programs initiated by Kurt Herbert Adler in 1954. Providing a coordinated sequence of performance and study opportunities for young artists, San Francisco Opera Center represents a new era in which young artists of major operatic potential can develop through intensive training and performance, under the aegis of a major international opera company. Now under the guidance of its fourth director, Sheri Greenawald, and San Francisco Opera General Director David Gockley, the Opera Center has trained and introduced many young stars from around the world to the international opera stage through its resident artist programs.

Initially founded as the San Francisco Opera/Affiliate Artists program in 1977, the Adler Fellowship Program is one of the nation’s most prestigious performance-oriented residencies for the most advanced young singers and coach/accompanists. Each year, Adler Fellows are sponsored by individual donors to help cover the cost of their fellowship, and sponsors affiliated with the Adler Program have the opportunity to attend private studio classes with the Fellows and develop nurturing relationships with them. Alumni from the Adler Fellowship Program include sopranos Jane Archibald, Leah Crocetto, Heidi Melton, Patricia Racette, Nadine Sierra, Ruth Ann Swenson, Elza van den Heever, and Deborah Voigt; mezzo-sopranos Kendall Gladden, Daveda Karanas, Daniella Mack, and Dolora Zajick; countertenors Brian Asawa and Gerald Thompson; tenors Brian Jagde, Sean Pannikar, Alex Shrader and Noah Stewart; baritones Mark Delavan and Lucas Meachem; and bass-baritone John Relyea.

One of the oldest and most acclaimed training programs of its kind, the Merola Opera Program for aspiring opera professionals offers up-and-coming singers, coach-accompanists and stage directors the opportunity of intense study and performance during an eleven-week summer program. Named for San Francisco Opera’s first general director, Gaetano Merola, the program began during the 1954–55 Season and established its full training program in 1957. Alumni of the program include Joyce DiDonato, Sylvia McNair, Anna Netrebko, Patricia Racette, Ruth Ann Swenson, Carol Vaness, Deborah Voigt, Susan Graham, Dolora Zajick, Brian Asawa, Thomas Hampson, Rolando Villazón, and Patrick Summers. An independent non-profit organization, the Merola Opera Program operates in collaboration with San Francisco Opera Center and San Francisco Opera.

For more information on the San Francisco Opera Center and Merola Opera Program, visit sfopera.com and merola.org.
 
– SFO –
 
 
This press release and downloadable Schwabacher Debut Recital artist photographs are available at sfopera.com/press. For further press information, please contact:
 
San Francisco Opera Communications
Gelane Pearson [415.565.6470 / gpearson@sfopera.com]
Robin Freeman [415.565.6451 / rfreeman@sfopera.com]