Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Putting Their Best Foot Forward

The San Francisco Opera has a young professionals training course called the Merola Opera Program, named after their first General Director Gaetano Merola. About 25 years ago, the company added what amounts to a graduate school for a dozen singers every year called the Adler Fellowship Program, where a wealthy patron basically supports a young singer for a couple of years.

Last night at the Opera House, there was a concert called "The Future is Now: Adler Fellows Gala Concert" where the students strutted their stuff in a selection of complete opera scenes that were bizarrely eclectic, ranging from a long chunk of Handel's "Alcina" to the murder scene in "Billy Budd." (But did we need Gordon Getty's "Plump Jack" AGAIN? I know he hands out a lot of money and everything, but really...)

They were accompanied by one of the great pit bands in the world, The San Francisco Opera Orchestra which was being conducted by its outgoing music director, Donald Runnicles. Stars of the evening in my completely biased, subjective opinion were Elza van den Heever in "Alcina" and Sean Panikkar in "La Boheme." Congratulations to everyone, though, and good luck in your hard, competitive artistic life.


cookiecrumb said...

Your pit band photo has me all emotional. The "stars" on top and the workhorses underneath. I always get weepy at live performances, whether they be comedy, drama, music or dance. I'm just never sure how the show is going to come out and I'm usually so relieved it comes out at all.
(Psycho outburst)
Release. Relief.

Anonymous said...

Great pictures. I read in the Chron today that Panikkar was only 23yo, which I could not believe, he's so good.