Merola Opera Program Announces 2021 Slate

By David Salazar
(Credit: Kristen Loken)

The Merola Opera Program has announced its summer festival which is set to take place between June 14-July 31, 2021.

The festival will include a BIPOC recital, its traditional Merola Grand Finale, and a digital project.

First up will be “What the Heart Desires,” a recital co-curated by tenor Nicholas Phan and mezzo-soprano Ronnita Miller which will feature compositions by women and people of color.

Performance Date: July 3, 2021

Next up will be “Back Home: Through the Stage Door.” The showcase which was conceived and directed for film by David Paul will feature the 2021 Merola artists in a unique digital program.

Performance Date: July 30, 2021

The program will draw to a close with the “Merola Grand Finale” which will showcase all of the artists of the 2021 Merola Opera Program, directed by Merola Apprentice Stage Director Audrey Chait.

Performance Date: July 31, 2021

This list includes all of the Merola Opera Program participants in 2021:


Emily Blair, Hoffman Estates, Illinois
Catherine Goode, Friendswood, Texas
Magdalena Kuźma, New York, New York
Celeste Morales, San Antonio, Texas
Ashley Marie Robillard, Norton, Massachusetts
Mikayla Sager, Vancouver, BC, Canada
Johanna Will, Dresden, Germany


Gabrielle Barkidjija, River Forest, Illinois
Gabrielle Beteag, Atlanta, Georgia
Jesse Mashburn, Hartselle, Alabama
Nikola Printz, Novato, California


Victor Cardamone, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Edward Graves, Oxon Hill, Maryland
Gabriel Hernandez, Tampa, Florida
Philippe L’Esperance, Grafton, Massachusetts
Tianchi Zhang, Huainan, Anhui, China 


Thomas Lynch, Lynbrook, New York
Samson McCrady, Tucson, Arizona
Laureano Quant, Barranquilla, Colombia 


Ben Brady, Denver, Colorado
Andrew Dwan, Mountain View, California


Erica Xiaoyan Guo, Tianjin, China
Yang Lin, Shanghai, China
Anna Smigelskaya, Saint Petersburg, Russia
Shiyu Tan, Changsha, Hunan, China
Marika Yasuda, Williamsburg, Virginia