Friday, December 03, 2010

The Adler Fellows Gala Concert 2010

The Adler Fellows are a group of anywhere from eight to a dozen young people who spend two years in an apprentice program with the San Francisco Opera. They sing small roles on the main stage, act as covers for the principals, and learn repertory, languages, movement, and professional survival techniques.

Some go on and prosper in the greater world and others don't, but the program itself has something of a family air to it. At Wednesday's Herbst Theatre gala concert, the professional clan was out in force, from General Director Gockley, to former Adler Fellows Heidi Melton and Elza van den Heever, to the Opera Tattler (above and below), to Eric Owens (below), the bass-baritone currently in "Aida" who just swiped "Das Rheingold" away from everyone in the Met's new Ring cycle, according to Alex Ross.

The concert overall was one of the best versions ever of this annual event, and being able to listen to the San Francisco Opera Orchestra on a small stage was a complete treat. Some of the vocal standouts were first-year mezzo Maya Lahayni, second-year Leah Crocetto with her huge soprano and perfect diction, and first-year Brian Jagde with his new tenor voice that he's just geting used to.

My favorite musical moment of the evening was a Handel duet from "Rodelinda" between Susannah Biller (above) and countertenor Ryan Belongie. The way they listened to each other and played off of each other's voices was rare and beautiful.

Graduating tenor David Lomeli is ready to take on the world's stages right here and right now. Backstage friends over the last couple of years have complained of disappointment when the principal tenor would show up for rehearsals. "David sounded so much better we almost wished for an indisposition." Lomeli sang a long "William Tell" duet with Crocetto where he sounded a lot better than Chris Merritt in the same part, and then he finished the evening with a "Nessun Dorma" that just nailed the showcase aria.

Best of luck to everyone in their futures. (All onstage photos by Cory Weaver.)

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