Release date: 1/29/2014

2014 Schwabacher Debut Recitals Presented by San Francisco Opera Center and Merola Opera Program

February 23: Soprano Jacqueline Piccolino, mezzo-soprano Zanda Švēde, tenor A.J. Glueckert, bass-baritone Rhys Lloyd Talbot with pianists Mark Morash and Noah Lindquist 
March 30: New York Festival of Song’s Steven Blier with soprano Maria Valdes, mezzo-soprano Zanda Švēde, tenor A.J. Glueckert and baritone Hadleigh Adams
April 27: Tenor Pene Pati and pianist Sun Ha Yoon
Tickets on sale now;

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SAN FRANCISCO (January 29, 2014)—San Francisco Opera Center and the Merola Opera Program present the 32nd season of the Schwabacher Debut Recitals; Sundays, February 23, March 30 and April 27, 2014 at Temple Emanu-El’s Martin Meyer Sanctuary in San Francisco, all performances at 5:30 p.m. The annual series showcases exemplary artists who have participated in the prestigious training programs of the San Francisco Opera Center and Merola Opera Program, whose performance-oriented residencies offer intensive individual training, coaching, and performance opportunities to advanced young professional international artists.
Since 1983, the Schwabacher Debut Recitals have been instrumental in launching the careers of internationally renowned artists. The recitals provide an opportunity for Bay Area audiences to experience exciting young talent perform a wide-ranging and eclectic repertoire of song literature in the intimate setting of the Martin Meyer Sanctuary. The San Francisco Chronicle has said of the recitals: “Ever since Sheri Greenawald took the reins at the San Francisco Opera Center. . . the Schwabacher Debut Recital Series has taken on a different—and more venturesome—cast. More and more often, you come to get acquainted with a promising young singer, and you wind up getting to know a fascinating new corner of the vocal repertoire in the bargain.”
The 2014 Schwabacher Debut Recitals begin Sunday, February 23 with About Love. Co-sponsored by the Merola Opera Program, the first recital of the series explores the complicated dichotomy of falling in and out of love. The program includes works by Beethoven, Fauré, R. Strauss, Stravinsky and a collection from American composer Ned Rorem, which San Francisco Opera Center Director of Musical Studies Mark Morash calls “a series of songs reflecting love variously as unobtainable, bitter, disappointing and revelatory.”
The second half of the program is dedicated to Brahms’s eighteen delightful Liebeslieder Waltzes or “love-songs.” Led by Mark Morash, the evening features current Adler Fellows and Merola Opera Program alumni soprano Jacqueline Piccolino (Chicago, Illinois), mezzo-soprano Zanda Švēde (Valmiera, Latvia), tenor A.J. Glueckert (Portland, Oregon) and pianist Noah Lindquist (Brooklyn, New York); along with Merola Opera Program alumnus bass-baritone Rhys Lloyd Talbot (Cedar Rapids, Iowa).  
The series continues Sunday, March 30 with New York Festival of Song Artistic Director Steven Blier’s presentation of In the Memory Palace.  Sheri Greenawald comments: “Steven Blier’s recitals are always an exciting event and not to be missed. In the Memory Palace features a series of diverse song cycles, chosen to evoke and illuminate memories. It will take you down many perfumed corridors.” The program includes works by rarely heard British composer Frank Bridge, musical theater icon Stephen Sondheim, Brazilian composer Heitor Villa-Lobos and R&B singer-songwriter Smokey Robinson.
A highlight of the program will be contemporary American composer Gabriel Kahane’s The Memory Palace performed by Adler Fellow baritone Hadleigh Adams (Palmerston, New Zealand). 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.” Also joining Blier on stage are current Adler Fellows soprano Maria Valdes (Atlanta, Georgia), mezzo-soprano Zanda Švēde and tenor A.J. Glueckert.
The 2014 Schwabacher Debut Recitals final program, co-sponsored by the Merola Opera Program, takes place Sunday, April 27 and features first-year Adler Fellow and recent Merola Opera Program alumnus Pene Pati (Auckland, New Zealand). The rising tenor will perform a collection of recital favorites from composers Roger Quilter and Paolo Tosti, accompanied by current Adler Fellow Sun Ha Yoon (Seoul, South Korea). Winner of the Richard Bonynge & Joan Sutherland Bel Canto Award and the Sydney Eisteddfod McDonald’s Operatic Aria Award, Pati is also a member of the successful Samoan New Zealand trio SOL3 MIO, which mixes both classical and contemporary music. In 2013 SOL3 MIO, comprised of Pene Pati, his brother Amitai Pati and their cousin Moses Mackay, released their first self-titled album with Universal Records and in March will complete their first national tour in New Zealand with sold-out performances. Sheri Greenawald comments, “Pene has a bright, sunny, Italianate sound that is so reminiscent of Pavarotti that it makes us excited. He is also a larger than life Samoan rugby player, with one hell of a high C!”
The Schwabacher Debut Recitals are 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.  The Schwabacher Debut Recitals have introduced the artistry of internationally acclaimed artists, including Anna Netrebko, Deborah Voigt, Susan Graham, Rolando Villazón and Thomas Hampson. The recitals provide an opportunity to hear a wealth of song literature ranging from Baroque masterpieces and Romantic-era classics to newly commissioned works performed by up-and-coming young singers.
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; a three-recital subscription is $60.  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. 
Presented by San Francisco Opera Center and Merola Opera Program
Temple Emanu-El’s Martin Meyer Sanctuary (Two Lake Street, at Arguello, in San Francisco) 
PROGRAM 1:  Sunday, February 23, 5:30 p.m.
Jacqueline Piccolino, soprano
Zanda Švēde, mezzo-soprano
A.J. Glueckert, tenor
Rhys Lloyd Talbot, bass-baritone
Mark Morash, piano
Noah Lindquist, piano
About Love featuring Brahms’ Liebeslieder Waltzes, Opus 52 and works by Beethoven, Fauré, Stravinsky, R. Strauss and Ned Rorem.

PROGRAM 2:  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 and R&B singer-songwriter Smokey Robinson.
PROGRAM 3:  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.
Canadian conductor and pianist MARK MORASH currently serves as the director of musical studies for San Francisco Opera Center.  There, he has conducted productions for the Merola Program, the Adler Fellow Showcase, and Western Opera Theater. He has also led performances of Rigoletto for Opera Colorado; Don Giovanni and The Turn of the Screw for the Lincoln Theater in Yountville, CA; and La Serva Padrona and Trouble in Tahiti for Opera Santa Barbara. San Francisco Opera Center performances have included Argento’s Postcard from Morocco, The Barber of Seville, The Rape of Lucretia, Così fan tutte, Die Fledermaus, The Merry Wives of Windsor, and Pasatieri’s The Seagull. As a collaborative pianist, Morash’s performances have taken him throughout Canada and the U.S. as well as to Japan and Russia. Artists with whom Morash has appeared include Michael Schade, Tracy Dahl, Leah Crocetto, Melody Moore, and Elza van den Heever. He has accompanied numerous emerging singers in San Francisco Opera’s esteemed Schwabacher Debut recitals and performed in the west coast premiere of Ned Rorem’s song cycle Evidence of Things Not Seen for Other Minds Music Festival. In addition to his work with young artists in San Francisco, Morash has been involved with the Opera Center of Pittsburgh Opera, Wolf Trap Opera, the Banff Centre, and Hawaii Opera Theater as well as having taught at the University of Toronto. He has given master classes throughout the U.S., Canada, and most recently in New Zealand.
Baritone HADLEIGH ADAMS is a first-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. Upcoming engagements include Pollux (Rameau’s Castor et Pollux) with Pinchgut Opera.
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.
Pianist NOAH LINDQUIST is a first-year Adler Fellow and an alumnus of the 2013 Merola Opera Program where he coached Le Nozze di Figaro and The Rape of Lucretia. A native of New York City, he completed his master’s degree in collaborative piano at the Mannes College of Music in 2013, studying with Cristina Stanescu. Lindquist has performed in Alice Tully Hall and Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall.

Samoan New Zealander PENE PATI is a first-year Adler Fellow and an alumnus of the 2013 Merola Opera Program. The tenor’s recent performances include Elvino (La Sonnambula) with the Auckland Opera Studio and appearances with the Auckland Chamber Orchestra and the Hamilton Civic Choir.  Pati has been a recipient of numerous awards, including the Richard Bonynge & Joan Sutherland Bel Canto Award, the Sydney Eisteddfod McDonald’s Operatic Aria Award, the Dame Malvina Major Foundation Award, the Performing Arts Competition Society “New Zealand Young Performer of the Year” award, the inaugural Iosefa Enari Memorial scholarship from Creative New Zealand, the Seamus Casey Memorial Award, and the Pears Britten and Marie d’Albini awards from the University of Auckland.

A native of Chicago, JACQUELINE PICCOLINO is a second-year Adler Fellow who made her San Francisco Opera debut last summer as Stella in Les Contes d’Hoffmann and returned this fall as a maid in the world premiere of Dolores Claiborne. As a participant in the 2012 and 2013 Merola Opera Program, the soprano appeared as Arminda (La Finta Giardiniera) and Countess Almaviva (Le Nozze di Figaro). As a studio artist with Wolf Trap Opera Company, she has appeared in that company’s productions of Le Donne Curiose, Sweeney Todd, and Les Contes d’Hoffmann. Other career highlights include appearing in the Napa Festival del Sole’s Bouchaine Young Artist Concert Series and participating in the Houston Grand Opera Young Artist Vocal Academy. Piccolino is a recipient of the Richard F. Gold Career Grant from the Shoshana Foundation and winner of the New York Lyric Opera Theatre Competition and the Bel Canto Competition.

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.
A native of Cedar Rapids, bass-baritone RHYS LLOYD TALBOT is a 2013 Merola Opera Program Alumnus, where he performed the role of Antonio in Le Nozze di Figaro and participated in the Schwabacher Summer Concert as Leporello (Don Giovanni), Mustafà (L’Italiana in Algeri), Raimondo (Lucia di Lammermoor), and Lodovico (Otello). In addition to being a studio artist with Wolf Trap Opera Company, Talbot has attended the Houston Grand Opera Young Artists Vocal Academy and was a Central City Studio Artist. On stage he has performed roles in Amahl and the Night Visitors, A Hand of Bridge, Die Zauberflöte, Die Fledermaus, and Prima Donna.
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. 
Pianist and vocal coach SUN HA YOON is a second-year Adler Fellow hailing from Seoul, South Korea. In the summer of 2012 she was participant in the Merola Opera Program. Prior, she was a vocal piano fellow at the Music Academy of the West, where she coached Il Barbiere di Siviglia and Don Giovanni. In January of 2012, she collaborated with soprano Megan Hart in a duo recital at Carnegie Hall as part of Marilyn Horne’s The Song Continues series. Yoon recently graduated with a doctorate in collaborative piano performance from the University of Maryland and worked as a coach for the Maryland Opera Studio in two world premiere performances: Later the Same Evening by John Musto and Shadowboxer by Frank Proto.
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.

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.

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.
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