Merola Opera Program Announces 60th Anniversary Season for 2017

By David Salazar

The Merola Opera Program has announced its 2017 season to commemorate its 60th anniversary, which will feature performances from some of the greatest artists in opera as well as a collaboration with the most recognized opera composer today.

The season opens on June 11, 2017, with a benefit gala that will feature such Merola alums as Deborah Voigt, Julie Adams, Kristin Clayton, Tracy Dahl, Catherine Cook, Zanda Svēde, Dolora Zajick, Pene Pati, Issachah Savage, Quinn Kelsey, Bojan Knezevic, John Churchwell, and Mark Morash, among others.

There will also be two Schwabacher Summer Concerts on July 6 and 9, which will feature scenes from “Cavalleria Rusticana,” “The Ballad of Baby Doe,” “Thaïs,” “Der Freischütz,” and “Lucrezia Borgia” with full orchestra. as well as stagings of such operas as “La Serva Padrona,” “Savitri,” “The Bear,” “La Cenerentola,” and a grand final performance on August 19 at the War Memorial Opera House. “La Cenerentola” is a rather special choice as it was showcased during the program’s’ 40th anniversary, starring Joyce DiDonato, and during its 50th anniversary, with Daniela Mack in the title role.

Additionally, the organization is commissioning a new opera by composer Jake Heggie and librettist Gene Sheer entitled “If I Were You.” The work is slated for a world premiere in 2019.

“It has long been a dream of mine to write a full-length stage work especially for the Merola Opera Program to celebrate its legacy and spotlight its important place in the world of opera. I’m absolutely over the moon that the time has come with ‘If I Were You.’ Gene Scheer and I look forward to creating a challenging and beautiful opera with the fabulous Merola team,” said Heggie.