Monday, November 28, 2022

Concerts at SF Opera, December 2 and 4

Postcard with hand-colored photo of 
War Memorial Opera House and Veterans Building, SF
Collection of Lisa Hirsch

Here are the programs for the Adler Fellows' concert ("The Future is Now") on Friday, December 2, and the SF Opera Chorus concert on Sunday, December 4.


Friday, December 2, 2022, at 7:30 p.m.

Herbst Theatre, Veterans Building, 401 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco


San Francisco Opera Orchestra

Eun Sun Kim, conductor


PROGRAM (subject to change)


Overture from Die Fledermaus (Johann Strauss II)

San Francisco Opera Orchestra


“Scoglio d’immota fronte” from Scipione (George Frideric Handel)

Anne-Marie MacIntosh, Berenice


“Se all’impero” from La Clemenza di Tito (W.A. Mozart)

Edward Graves, Tito


“Le jour naissait dans le bocage” from La Fille du Régiment (Gaetano Donizetti)

Elisa Sunshine, Marie • Gabrielle Beteag, Marquise • Stefan Egerstrom, Sulpice 


“O blonde Cérès” from Les Troyens (Hector Berlioz)

Victor Cardamone, Iopas


“Look! Through the port ... Farewell to ye, old Rights o’ Man” from Billy Budd (Benjamin Britten)

Timothy Murray, Billy Budd • Stefan Egerstrom, Dansker


“Afraid, am I afraid?” from The Medium (Gian Carlo Menotti)

Gabrielle Beteag, Madame Flora


“Tanto amore segreto ... tu che di gel” from Turandot (Giacomo Puccini)

Esther Tonea, Liù • Anne-Marie MacIntosh, Turandot • Timothy Murray, Ping • Edward Graves, Calaf


“Era più calmo ... mia madre aveva una povera ancella ... Ave Maria” from Otello (Giuseppe Verdi)

Mikayla Sager, Desdemona • Gabrielle Beteag, Emilia


“Ich weiss ein wildes Geschlecht” from Die Walküre (Richard Wagner)

Stefan Egerstrom, Hunding


“Lied der Lulu” from Lulu (Alban Berg)

Elisa Sunshine, Lulu


“Sorgi, o padre” from Bianca e Fernando (Vincenzo Bellini)

Esther Tonea, Bianca • Mikayla Sager, Eloisa


“Ah, vieni! Nel tuo sangue” from Otello (Gioachino Rossini)

Victor Cardamone, Rodrigo • Edward Graves, Otello


“Tu ne chanteras plus ... chère enfant que j'appelle” from Les Contes d'Hoffmann (Jacques Offenbach)

Anne-Marie MacIntosh, Antonia • Gabrielle Beteag, Mother’s Voice •  Stefan Egerstrom, Dr. Miracle





Sunday, December 4, 2022, at 2 p.m.

Dianne and Tad Taube Atrium Theater

Diane B. Wilsey Center for Opera

Veterans Building, 4th Floor, 401 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco


General Admission: $42


San Francisco Opera Chorus

Chorus Director John Keene, conductor

Assistant Chorus Master Fabrizio Corona, piano


“From harmony, from heavenly harmony” from Ode for St. Cecilia’s Day (George Frideric Handel)

“The many rend the skies with loud applause” from Alexander’s Feast (George Frideric Handel)


Choeur des Bergers from L’Enfance du Christ (Hector Berlioz)


Selections from Guillaume Tell, Act I (Gioachino Rossini)

            “Quel jour serein le ciel présage”

            “Pasteurs, que vos accents s’unissent”

            “Près des torrents qui grondent”

Soloists: Silvie Jensen, Hedwige • Fernando Ruiz, Arnold • Andrew Thomas Pardini, Guillaume Tell • Wilford Kelly, Melcthal • Jesslyn Thomas, Jemmy • Patrick Hagen, Le Pêcheur


“Gli aranci olezzano sui verdi margini” from Cavalleria Rusticana (Pietro Mascagni)

Chorus of the Bells from Pagliacci (Ruggero Leoncavallo)


Selections from Quilt Songs: Women Weaving the Fabric of Life

            “Sun Quilt” (Gabriela Lena Frank)

            “Nearly Insane” (Ysaÿe Barnwell)

            “Most Holy Night” (Carol Barnett)

Soloist: Jonathan Smucker


Selections from Zigeunerlieder, Op. 103 (Johannes Brahms)

1.                He, Zigeuner, greife in die Saiten ein

Soloist: Michael Jankosky

2.         Hochgetürmte Rimaflut

3.         Wißt ihr, wann mein Kindchen

Soloists: Patrick HagenLaurel Cameron Porter

4.         Lieber Gott, du weisst

Soloists: Clare DemerWhitney SteelePatrick HagenWilliam O’Neill

5.         Brauner Bursche führt zum Tanze

6.         Röslein dreie in der Reihe

Soloists: Sara ColburnSally MouzonJonathan SmuckerWilliam O’Neill

7.         Kommt dir manchmal in den Sinn

Soloists: Jesslyn ThomasElizabeth BakerMichael JankoskyWilliam O’Neill

8.         Rote Abendwolken ziehn


“Dirait-on” (Morten Lauridsen; text by Rainer Maria Rilke)


“The Rose” (Ola Gjeilo; text by Christina Rossetti)


“Sure on this shining night” (Morten Lauridsen; text by James Agee)

Museum Mondays

Photo. A stone effigy that is placed on a plinth in a museum, view of the effigy's feet and shoes, carved white stone, including draperies or hemline of a woman's dress.

A woman's feet
Effigy, Victoria & Albert Museum
London, November, 2019

Friday, November 25, 2022

Media Round-Up: The Hours, Metropolitan Opera

Photograph taken at night of the Lincoln Center fountain, lit up with fairly low jets of water in concentric rings.

I am planning to see the HD broadcast of Kevin Puts's new opera, The Hours, which is based on a novel I've never read, a film I've never seen, and Virginia Woolfe's Mrs. Dalloway, which I have read, but not recently. I wasn't originally planning a media round-up, but hoo boy, the reviews are...interesting and more than a little dubious.

  • Zachary Woolfe, NY Times ("...nearly every scene in the opera eventually gets to the same place musically and dramatically, whipped into soaring emotion. The tear-jerking gets tiring."
  • Justin Davidson, New York Magazine ("Discrete personalities start to liquefy and slosh together, all those gracious lamentations merging in a stream of warm melody.")
  • Michael Andor Brodeur, Washington Post ("The Hours" should have made an amazing opera. It didn't.) 
  • Christopher Corwin, Parterre Box ("I rarely glance at my watch during an opera, but last night at the Met I did—several times—as The Hours seemed to be going on for hours and hours and…")
  • Gabrielle Ferrari, NY Observer
  • Alex Ross, The New Yorker ("What the opera lacks, however, is a compositional identity distinct enough to hold its own against the jumpy genius of Woolf’s prose—or, for that matter, against the indelible musical signature of Philip Glass, who scored the film.")
Related: the recently-revived Sieglinde's Diaries takes a few unwarranted potshots at Zachary Woolfe, thinking that he is "trashing" Fleming (he is not) and apparently unaware of three five other published reviews that are less-than-raves about her. The kind words for Tommasini - I mean, let me note that plenty of people consider him a milquetoast reviewer unwilling to express his opinions. You know, he moved his Levine recordings from the living room to his bedroom!

Things to Be Grateful For

There's so much: I'm grateful for my partner Donna; for work I (mostly) like and can do from home; for my excellent work colleagues (even though it was another year with three managers....); for the roof over my head.  For the performance arts organizations without whose work my life would be so much poorer; for Eun Sun Kim and Esa-Pekka Salonen and the circumstances that brought them to SF; for West Edge Opera and Opera Parallel; for San Francisco Opera and San Francisco Symphony; for SFO's continuing mask/vaccination policy. For my many friends, on and off the internet; for Deborah, Patrick, Craig, Joshua, Nan, Georgia, Lois, Lizzy, Lizzie, Liz, Steve S. and Steve H., Kalimac, Janos, Ed, Imani, Alex, Mike, Charlise, Tim M. and Tim P., for Matt and Nancy, for Matt and Janet; for The Well, my online home since the last century; for musicology Twitter; for all of the members of the APA about relationships (my offline home since the last century). And for many folks not specifically named here.

It's been a rough almost-three years of the pandemic; I'm grateful for the scientists, doctors, epidemiologist, biologists, nurses, respiratory therapists, physical therapist, occupational therapists, lab technicians, and others who've done the research to create vaccines and treatments and who've given so much - too much, in too many cases - to keep people alive. There've been too many losses and too many deaths, from COVID and other causes, worldwide and in my life; too many friends are in ill health from one thing or another. Still, I'm a very lucky person.

Friday Photo

Photograph of long grasses blowing horizontally, with reddish grains at the end of each stem.

Mendocino Botanical Gardens
August, 2022


Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Media Round-Up: Gluck's Orpheus in San Francisco

Meigui Zhang and Jakub Józef Orliński in the title roles of Gluck's Orpheus and Eurydice

Photo: Cory Weaver/San Francisco Opera

I'll eventually have more educated opinions than I have now, having seen the livestream but not the live opera. Meanwhile....

Voices of Music

Received from Voices of Music, news of their upcoming concerts:

Join the highly acclaimed San Francisco early music ensemble Voices of Music in December for an evening of beautiful music as they present their signature holiday program of virtuoso concertos, perfectly suited to the season.

Featured soloists Elizabeth Blumenstock, Chloe Kim, YuEun Kim, Kati Kyme, violin; Dominic Favia, baroque trumpet, Marc Schachman, baroque oboe, and Hanneke van Proosdij, recorder, will play works by Bach, Telemann, Vivaldi, and Torelli.

Three performances in the Bay Area:
Friday, December 9 at 8pm
St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, 1111 O’Farrell St, San Francisco, 94109

Saturday, December 10
 at 7pm
Unitarian Universalist Church, 505 E. Charleston Rd, Palo Alto, 94306

Sunday, December 11
 at 7:30pm
First Congregational Church, 2345 Channing Way, Berkeley, 94704
Tickets range from $5 (full-time students) to $58 (adults under 65)
Single tickets:
Adult $58
Senior/SFEMS/EMA/ARS $53
Full-time students: $5 (please show valid student ID)
Season subscriptions: 
Adult $155
Senior/SFEMS/EMA/ARS $140
For more information and to purchase tickets please go to or call 415-377-4444.


Monday, November 21, 2022

West Edge Opera 2023

Photo. The back of a large, circular auditorium with white columns two stories tall.

Scottish Rite Temple
Rear of auditorium
Photo by Lisa Hirsch
Summer, 2022

Gosh, I am surprised to see that I never posted anything about West Edge Opera's 2022 operas and the performances. They were all good! Giulio Cesare, Coraline, and, best of all, Dukas's extremely rare Ariane et Barbe-Bleu, with truly powerhouse performances by Renée Rapier as Ariane and Sara Couden as her nurse. I loved Turnage's Coraline, too; a quirky opera based on a quirky book and film.

The 2023 festival was originally announced as the new (commissioned by WEO) opera  Bulrusher, but that has been postponed to 2024. Instead:

  • Monteverdi, The Coronation of Poppea (aka L'incoronazione di Poppea)
  • Schoenberg, Erwartung and Stravinsky, Le Rossignol
  • Martinez, Cruzar la Cara de la Luna
Casts haven't been announced yet. WEO has performed Poppea before, ten or so years back when they were performing in El Cerrito. 

Next year's festival will presumably again be at the Oakland Scottish Rite Temple's cavernous theater, which seats 1200 and where you need to be careful on the stairs.

Museum Mondays

Photo. Overhead view of a stone effigy seen from the waist up. Effigy of a person, head resting on an elaborately embroidered pillow, head wrapped in a cloth, hands crossed at the wrists.

Victoria & Albert Museum, London
November, 2019

Friday, November 18, 2022

Ned Rorem

Composer Ned Rorem died earlier today at 99, a few weeks after that birthday. He was a Pulitzer Prize winner, the composer of hundreds of songs, a dozen operas, and many other works. He wrote prolifically about music. He was also, notoriously, the author of tell-all diaries about his life, drinking, and (very gay!) sexual adventures. I read The Paris Diary and The New York Diary decades ago; I expect that I was a lot more shocked than I would be today, and also that I would read them rather differently today.

  • Tim Page, Washington Post
  • Daniel Lewis, NY Times. (This obituary originally stated that in the 1950s, Rorem met "the composers Francis Poulenc, Darius Milhaud and Erik Satie," which, no, he did not, because Satie died in 1925. I was one of the people who sent in an error report.)
  • Dean Olsher, NPR
  • Josh Barone, NYTimes 
  • Alex Ross

Friday Photo

Photo of a mud flat in the foreground, mountains in the background and sky. Flying across the sky from left to right are four Canada geese, silhouetted against the sky above the mountains.

Canada Geese
Arcata Marsh
August, 2022


Thursday, November 17, 2022

2023 Ader Fellows

War Memorial Opera House & Veterans Building, SF
Hand-colored postcard
Lisa Hirsch Collection

A press release from SF Opera announces the 2023 Adler Fellows. Here they are, with hearty congratulations; I'm most familiar with the work of mezzo-soprano Nikola Printz, whom I've reviewed a couple of times, including their magnificent recital in the spring.



Jongwon Han                           
(Seoul, South Korea)

Bass-baritone Jongwon Han began the 2022–23 season with debuts at Dayton Opera in Handel’s Messiah and Palm Beach Opera as Bonze in Madame Butterfly. Han was an Apprentice Artist with Santa Fe Opera. His operatic credits include the title roles of Don Giovanni and Le Nozze di Figaro, Masetto in Don Giovanni, Schaunard in La Bohème, Baron Douphol in La Traviata and Dr. Miracle in Les Contes d’Hoffmann. Having a deep connection to sacred music, Han has been featured in Bach’s Cantata BWV 140, Mozart’sSparrow Mass and Haydn’s Theresienmesse


Han was a 3rd Prize winner of 2022 Operalia The World Opera Competition and Grand Finalist in the 2021 Metropolitan Opera Laffont Competition, receiving the Pamela Craven Award. His recent accolades include 2022 Houston Grand Opera Eleanor McCollum Competition, 2022 Giulio Gari International Voice Competition, 2022 Loren L. Zachary Vocal Competition, 2021 Gerda Lissner Lieder Competition, 2022 Butler Opera International Competition and 2022 Vero Beach Opera Competition.


Han received his bachelor’s degree from Seoul National University and his master’s degree from Mannes School of Music and student at The Juilliard School’s Artistic Diploma Opera Studies program.


Yang Lin
(Shanghai, China)

Pianist/Coach Yang Lin was born into an operatic family in Shanghai, China. A frequent and passionate performer of Wagner, he worked closely with renowned dramatic soprano Jane Eaglen for recitals and dramatic voice workshops. He has been praised by Pittsburgh Post-Gazette for his “unfailing accuracy and attention to color and detail that went far to compensate for lack of an orchestra.”


In 2022, he worked with Lyric Opera of Kansas City in productions of Amahl and the Night VisitorsLa TraviataCarmenTosca and The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs. His other opera credits include Don GiovanniDie ZauberflöteThe Bartered BrideLa Clemenza di Tito Dinner at EightCendrillonHansel and GretelGianni SchicchiLa BohèmeOtelloLohengrin and Die Fledermaus. He has worked with Cincinnati Opera, Indianapolis Opera, Pittsburgh Festival Opera, Aspen Music Festival, Canadian Vocal Arts Institute, Beijing’s National Center for the Performing Arts and I Sing International You Artist Festival.


Lin received his training from Merola Opera Program (2020, 2022), University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, New England Conservatory and Shanghai Conservatory.


Nikola Printz 
(Oakland, California)


Nikola Printz is an artist whose talents span multiple genres. Recent role debuts include Hannah After (As One) and the modern premiere of Vinci’s Astianatte. In their 2021–22 season they were seen in the titular roles of Carmen and Dido with Opera San José, for which they were praised by Opera News as having “big opulent tone and an easy reach to their high register.” Printz is also a two-time participant of the Merola Opera Program (2020, 2022). Their Schwabacher Recital in March received rave reviews from audiences and critics alike.


Recent digital appearances include the award-winning film Behind the Stage Door with Merola Opera Program and Three Romances by Erling Wold, which had its 2022 premiere in the Opera Philadelphia Film Festival. Other role debuts incldue Elle (La Voix Humaine), Orfeo (Orfeo ed Euridice, West Edge Opera), Rosina, Cherubino and Isabella (L’Italiana in Algeri), all with Opera Memphis during their tenure as a Resident Artist from 2016–2018.


Printz is an accomplished aerialist, training in static and dance trapeze. They have cultivated several aerial acts sung and performed live with both piano and orchestra, in grand concert halls and smokey cabaret clubs.  


Arianna Rodriguez
(Fairfax, Virginia)

Guyanese, Puerto Rican soprano Arianna Rodriguez has been described as “a delight” and a “brilliant soprano delivering her wit and love with flair” (The Eagle Times). She is a Florida District winner and Southeast Regional Finalist with the 2022 Metropolitan Opera Laffont Competition and a Gerda Lissner Encouragement Award recipient.


A 2022 participant of the Merola Opera Program, Rodriguez performed the title role of Amadeo Vives’ Dona Francisquita in the Schwabacher Summer Concert. On the operatic stage, she has been featured as Musetta in La Bohème with Opera North, Lauretta in Gianni Schicchi and Krysia in Jake Heggie’s Out of Darkness Two Remain with Peabody Conservatory. As a concert performer, she has appeared in a staged production of Leonard Bernstein’s Mass and Laura Karpman’s Ask Your Mama.


Rodriguez earned a Bachelor of Music in Voice Performance from George Mason University and a Master of Music in Voice Perofrmance from Peabody Conservatory.


Moisés Salazar
(Santa Ana, California)

Moisés Salazar is a Mexican American tenor known for his rich romantic sound and broad range of vocal color. This season, he returned to Palm Beach Opera as Remendado in Carmen, as well as performing the 1st Armored Man in Die Zauberflöte with Merola Opera Program.


During the 2021–22 season, Salazar appeared as Tebaldo in I Capuleti e i Montecchi, both 1st Priest and 1st Armored Man in Die Zauberflöte with Palm Beach Opera.


Other operatic roles include Ferrando (Così fan tutte), Señor Alcalde (The Summer King), Lysander (A Midsummer Night’s Dream), Borsa (Rigoletto) and Camille (The Merry Widow).


Salazar began singing in his family’s mariachi band, Trio Los Salazar, and is presently creating a concert series dedicated to Mexican folk music.



Olivia Smith

(Penticton, British Columbia, Canada)


Canadian soprano Olivia Smith is completing her studies at the Curtis Institute of Music. Current engagements include Governess in Britten’s The Turn of the Screw with the Curtis Opera Theatre and Marguerite in excerpts from Gounod’s Faust with Curtis Symphony Orchestra.


Other roles in Smith’s repertoire include Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte, Berta in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Cathleen in Vaughan Williams’ Riders to the Sea, First Witch in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas and Mrs. Gobineau in Menotti’s The Medium—all with the Curtis Opera Theatre.


Smith attended the Merola Opera Program in 2022 where she sang the role of Margarita Xirgu in scenes from Golijov’s Ainadamar. In summer of 2021 she attended Houston Grand Opera’s Young Artist Vocal Academy and in January 2022 participated in HGO’s Eleanor McCollum Competition where she received the Online Viewers Choice and the Ana María Martínez Encouragement Award. Smith won the first place Vanderlaan Prize in Grand Rapids, Michigan and in 2019 was awarded an encouragement grant from the George London Compeition.





Gabrielle Beteag                      
(Atlanta, Georgia)

Gabrielle Beteag is a rising American mezzo-soprano praised for her “choice voice” (OperaWire) and “dramatically vivid” performances (Broadway World). A participant in the 2021 class of the Merola Opera Program, she joined the Adler Fellowship Program in 2022. She recently created the role of Iras for the San Francisco Opera world premiere production of John Adams’ Antony and Cleopatra.


During the 2020–21 season Beteag was a Studio Player at the Atlanta Opera, where she performed Mercedes in the Big Tent production of The Threepenny Carmen. Her other role credits include Woman in a Hat/Duchess (Corigliano’s The Ghosts of Versailles), Lady Billows (Albert Herring), Mme. De Croissy (Dialogues des Carmélites) and Secretary (Menotti’s The Consul). 


An accomplished competitive singer, Beteag was a Grand Finals Winner of the 2020 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and has received accolades from other competitions, including the Shreveport Opera Mary Jacobs Singer of the Year Competition (Runner Up, 2020), the Opera Birmingham Vocal Competition (Finalist, 2019) and the Kristin Lewis Vocal Scholarship Competition (Grand Prize Winner, 2018).


Sponsored by Peggy & Boyce Nute


Victor Cardamone
(Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)

Victor Cardamone has garnered much attention and critical acclaim over the last decade. His ”sweet tenor” is equally known for its “power and ringing high notes” (Cincinnati Business Courier). Cardamone has performed with the Merola Opera Program, Cincinnati Opera, Opera Columbus, Wolf Trap Opera and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. Leading roles include Ferrando (Così fan tutte), Rinuccio (Gianni Schicchi), Don Ramiro (La Cenerentola), Jeník (The Bartered Bride), Tamino (Die Zauberflöte) and Don Ottavio (Don Giovanni). He has been a member of Opera Fusion: New Works and was part of the first workshops/studio recordings for Matthew Aucoin’s Eurydice (co-commissioned by The Metropolitan Opera and Los Angeles Opera), Scott Davenport Richards’ Blind Injustice and Kevin Puts’ The Hours (co-commissioned by The Metropolitan Opera and the Philadelphia Orchestra).


Cardamone is a three-time Central Region Finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and was sole recipient of the Regional Encouragement Award in 2017. He is also a three-time Corbett Competition award winner.


Cardamone earned his Bachelor of Music in Music Education from Youngstown State University, with a double major in voice and French horn. He completed additional coursework at Ball State University, before earning his Master of Music in Vocal Performance and his Artist Diploma in Opera Studies from the University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music.


Sponsored by Valerie Crane Dorfman


Edward Graves 
(Oxon Hill, Maryland)

Noted by Opera News for his "stunningly sweet tone," tenor Edward Graves joined San Francisco Opera’s Adler Fellowship Program in 2022. His Company appearances include Stone/Eunuch in Bright Sheng and David Henry Hwang’s Dream of the Red Chamber and Gastone in La Traviata. Other recent performances include Policeman 2 in Jeanine Tesori and Tazewell Thompson’s Blue at Detroit Opera and the title role of Judas Maccabaeus with Berkshire Choral International. In 2023 he will make his Spoleto Festival USA debut as Anatol in Vanessa


As a 2021 participant in the Merola Opera Program, he was featured in a recital entitled What the Heart Desires and a filmed project entitled Back Home: Through the Stage Door. Graves has previously appeared at Michigan Opera Theatre as a Studio Artist in the 2019–20 season where he made his company and role debuts as Rinuccio in a double bill of Puccini's Gianni Schicchi and Michael Ching's Buoso's Ghost.


He made his Seattle Opera debut in 2018 as Robbins in Porgy and Bess and appeared at The Glimmerglass Festival as a Young Artist in 2019 as Policeman 2 in the world premiere of Blue and 2017 as Peter in Porgy and Bess and Fred in Oklahoma! In the 2017–18 season, Graves was a Baumgartner Studio Artist at Florentine Opera where he performed roles in The Merry Widow, John Blow’s Venus and Adonis/Henry Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas and The Magic Flute​. 


Graves is a 2022 San Francisco District winner of the Eric and Dominique Laffont Competition. Graves received his Performer Diploma and Master of Music in Voice Performance from Indiana University's Jacobs School of Music. He received his Bachelor of Music in Voice Performance from Towson University.


Sponsored by Karin Eames


Mikayla Sager
(Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada)

Canadian soprano Mikayla Sager joined the Adler Fellowship Program in 2022. Recently, Sager was awarded the 2022 Maria Manetti Shrem Prize at Festival Napa Valley, where she also performed the role of Giannetta in L’Elisir d’Amore. Last season, she was featured in San Francisco Opera’s Eun Sun Kim Conducts Verdi concert. This fall, Sager was Sister Felicity in the Company’s presentation of Poulenc’s Dialogues of the Carmelites


Originally slated to make her role debut as the Countess in Le Nozze di Figaro as a part of Merola Opera Program, Sager performed excerpts from Bellini’s Norma and the Countess in the award-winning film Back Home: Through the Stage Door directed by David Paul.


In 2021, Sager was a prize winner of the Joan Sutherland and Richard Bonygne Foundation’s Elizabeth Connell Competition; a District Winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions; a finalist in the Jensen Foundation Vocal Competition, the Tenor Viñas Competition, National Opera Association Competition and Opera Index Competition; a semi-finalist in the Zenith Opera Competition, Annapolis Opera Vocal Comeptition and James Toland Competition and received second place in the Vienna Internanational Music Competition.


She has performed the roles of Violetta from La Traviata in concert, Fiordiligi (Così fan tutte), Vitellia (La Clemenza di Tito), Micaëla (Carmen), Norina (Don Pasquale) of which Opera Canada said she “brought an edgy intensity to her role [and] augmented her vocal prowess with enviable acting skills,” Donna Anna (Don Giovanni) with Venture Opera and, while at Manhattan School of Music, performed The Fox (The Cunning Little Vixen), Pamina and Second Lady (Die Zauberflöte), Orphée aux Enfers and La Fée (Cendrillon). Further highlights include a performance at David Geffen Hall with the New York Philharmonic and Rossini's Mosè in Egitto with New York City Opera.


Sponsored by Anna & Steven Fieler


Marika Yasuda
(Williamsburg, Virginia)

Pianist Marika Yasuda is a recent graduate of the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University where she is a doctoral candidate in Collaborative Piano.


As a soloist, she has received top prizes at competitions, including the Hellam Young Artists’ Competition, Virginia Waring International Piano Competition and Julia Crane International Piano Competition and was named a winner of the 2015 Oberlin Conservatory Concerto Competition.


As a collaborative pianist, Yasuda has worked with opera, vocal and instrumental music organizations throughout the U.S. She was on music staff for San Francisco Opera’s productions of Bright Sheng and David Henry Hwang’s Dream of the Red Chamber and Verdi’s La Traviata this year. Previously, she served as coach accompanist for the Indiana University Opera Theater. Some productions included The Barber of SevilleLa Bohème, Gianni SchicchiWest Side Story and Mason Bates’ opera The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs with Santa Fe Opera, Seattle Opera and San Francisco Opera. Other recent engagements include concerts at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, Seiji Ozawa Hall, Bennett Gordon Hall and Herbst Theatre. She has held fellowships at Merola Opera Program, Ravinia’s Steans Music Institute, Tangelwood Music Center, SongFes and the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. During the 2021 Merola Opera Program, she performed in a recital co-curated by mezzo-soprano Ronnita Miller and tenor Nicholas Phan titled What the Heart Desires as well as in Merola’s award-winning film, Back Home: Through the Stage Door, directed by David Paul.


Yasuda holds a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance and Vocal Accompaniment from Oberlin Conservatory and a Master of Music degree in Piano Performance from the Jacobs School of Music.


Sponsored by Karen J. Kubin