San Francisco Opera has trained future opera stars since its 1954-55 season, and 2016 is no exception. San Francisco Opera Center Director Sheri Greenawald announced 12 exceptional artists as recipients of the Adler Fellowship, selected from participants in the Merola Opera Program.
The newest Adler Fellows: sopranos Julie Adams (Burbank, California), Amina Edris (Christchurch, New Zealand) and Toni Marie Palmertree (Fleetwood, Pennsylvania); mezzo-sopranos Zanda Švēde (Valmiera, Latvia) and Nian Wang (Nanjing, China); tenor Pene Pati (Auckland, New Zealand); baritone Edward Nelson (Santa Clarita, California); bass-baritones Matthew Stump (Goshen, Indiana) and Brad Walker (Lake Zurich, Illinois); and bass Anthony Reed (Alexandria, Minnesota). Two pianists selected for Apprentice Coach Fellowships are Ron Michael-Greenberg (Montreal, Canada) and Noah Lindquist (Brooklyn, New York).
San Francisco Opera’s second general director, Kurt Herbert Adler (1905-1988), formally named its opera training program in 1957 for San Francisco Opera founder and first general director, Gaetano Merola (1881–1953), an ardent supporter of young singers. In 1982, San Francisco Opera’s third general director, Terence A. McKewan (1929-1998), established the Adler Fellowship Program, a multi-year performance-oriented residency for opera’s most promising young artists, and named it after Kurt Herbert Adler.
The Merola Opera Program is free to its artists and is supported by contributions of individuals, foundations and government entities. The program covers the artists’ travel, housing, weekly stipends and all training expenses. In addition, Merola alums may apply for Career Grants up to $12,000 for the five years following their participation in the program. Each year, a select group of exceptionally gifted Merolini, is invited to continue their education as Adler Fellows. The programs have nurtured such talents as Leah Crocetto, Susan Graham, Sylvia McNair, Anna Netrebko, Patricia Racette, Ruth Ann Swenson, Carol Vaness, Deborah Voigt and numerous other opera luminaries.
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