Amazon to Sponsor Merola Opera’s ‘What the Heart Desires’

By David Salazar

Amazon is providing sponsorship for Merola Opera Program’s “What the Heart Desires.”

The showcase features works by women and people of color including Robert Owens, Henry Thacker Burleigh, Zenobia Powell Perry, Howard Swanson, Chen Yi, Laureano Quant, Stacy Garrop, Justine F. Chen, Mohammed Fairouz, Ian Cusson, Florence Price, and Errollyn Wallen, among others. Performers include Quant, Gabrielle Barkidjija, Edward Graves, Tianchi Zhang, and Celeste Morales, among others. The program was curated by tenor Nicholas Phan and mezzo-soprano Ronnita Miller.

The program will also include two master classes featuring Denyce Graves and Howard Watkins; Graves’ masterclass is set to take place on July 7 while Watkins’ will take place seven days later on the 14th. Both classes will be sponsored by Amazon.

The showcase is set to take place at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music Concert Hall on July 3, 2021 for a limited audience of donors.

“I’m delighted that Amazon and the Merola Opera Program, in partnership, are providing opportunities for the community to experience a recital of musical gems by underrepresented composers, performed by some of the nation’s most talented young artists,” said Jean Kellogg, Executive Director of the Merola Opera Program, in a press release. “The added benefit of getting a ‘behind the scenes’ glimpse of master classes directed by celebrated, world-renowned artists promises new insight to the demands of opera performance.  It is our hope that these presentations may inspire a whole new generation of diverse artists and audience members.”