San Francisco Opera Center and Merola Opera Program Present 2019 Schwabacher Recitals on April 3 and 24

Release date: 3/25/2019    


April 3: Soprano Mary Evelyn Hagley, tenor Christopher Oglesby and pianist Mark Morash

April 24: Pianist Martin Katz with 2019 Adler Fellows soprano Mary Evelyn Hangley, mezzo-soprano Ashley Dixon, tenor Zhengyi Bai and bass-baritone Christian Pursell

Schwabacher Series April 2019.pdf  Photos Available

The Schwabacher Recital Series, presented by San Francisco Opera Center and the Merola Opera Program, continues in April with the final two recitals of its 36th season. Showcasing the exemplary young artists who have participated in the prestigious training programs of San Francisco Opera Center and the Merola Opera Program, the series offers music lovers an opportunity to hear opera’s next generation of stars in the intimate and state-of-the-art Dianne and Tad Taube Atrium Theater in San Francisco.

On April 3, the Schwabacher Recital Series presents soprano Mary Evelyn Hangley and tenor Christopher Oglesby with pianist and San Francisco Opera Center Director of Musical Studies Mark Morash (Merola 1987). Their program opens with two works by Franz Schubert (Auf dem Strom)and Benjamin Britten (Canticle III “Still Falls the Rain”), both featuring San Francisco Opera Co-Principal Horn Kevin Rivard. The artists also survey works by Richard Strauss (Sechs Lieder, Op. 19), Antonín Dvořák (Cigánské Melodie), Charles Ives and Gabriel Fauré (selected songs) and Italian duets by various composers. Mary Evelyn Hangley (Merola 2016; first-year Adler Fellow) recently performed the role of Anna Sørensen in Kevin Puts’ Silent Night at Glimmerglass Festival and this spring will be featured in the Verdi Requiem at her alma mater, SUNY Fredonia, where she also held a two-day recital and masterclass residency this past fall. Tenor Christopher Oglesby (Merola 2018; first-year Adler Fellow) debuted as Tom Rakewell in Stravinsky’s The Rake's Progress with the Merola Opera Program. He recently performed with the Utah Symphony as a soloist in Handel’s Messiah and was a Resident Artist at Utah Opera, where he sang Tybalt in Roméo et Juliette.

Morash said: “Mary Evelyn and Christopher have come up with a true ‘duo recital.’ Each singer is featured in a beautiful number with horn and piano, with the horn courtesy of San Francisco Opera’s outstanding Co-Principal Horn Kevin Rivard, and each has a solo set of songs. To finish, there is a light-hearted set of Italian duets. It promises to be a wonderful and varied evening of music and poetry.”

Martin Katz, the “dean of collaborative pianists” (Los Angeles Times), leads a quartet of 2019 San Francisco Opera Adler Fellows—soprano Mary Evelyn Hangley, mezzo-soprano Ashley Dixon, tenor Zhengyi Bai and bass-baritone Christian Pursell—in the final recital of the series on April 24. The program features Samuel Barber’s Hermit Songs and selections from Hugo Wolf’s Mörike Lieder and Johannes Brahms’ Deutsche Volkslieder. One of the world’s busiest collaborators, Martin Katz has appeared and recorded regularly with celebrated vocal soloists such as Cecilia Bartoli, Lawrence Brownlee, José Carreras, Marilyn Horne, Karita Mattila, Samuel Ramey and Frederica von Stade. A pivotal figure in the training of countless singers and pianists for the past three decades, he has taught at the University of Michigan School of Music where he chairs the program in collaborative piano.

A 2018 Grand Finals winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, Ashley Dixon (Merola 2015/2017; second-year Adler Fellow) first appeared with San Francisco Opera last fall as Annina in an excerpt from La Traviata at Plácido Domingo in Concert, and made her Company debut later in the season as an Angel First Class in Jake Heggie’s It’s a Wonderful Life. Zhengyi Bai (Merola 2018; first-year Adler Fellow), who entered college as a piano major in China before discovering his true instrument, won the Los Angeles District of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and appeared as Alessandro in Merola Opera Program’s production of Mozart’s Il Re Pastore. Christian Pursell (Merola 2017; second-year Adler Fellow) appeared in four Company productions last year, including Sir Walter Raleigh in Roberto Devereux, and this April sings Samuel/Doeg in Handel's Saul with Nicholas McGegan and the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra at various venues in the Bay Area and at Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles.

*For the complete press release, please view the attached PDF.