November 20, 2012
One of the greatest singers' farm teams anywhere — San Francisco Opera's Merola Program and Adler Fellowship — produced an extraordinary number of accomplishments last week.
- Melody Moore (Merola 2005; Adler 2006-2007) made her debut in the title role of Tosca in San Francisco, stepping in for the indisposed Angela Gheorghiu (more about that below).
- Leah Crocetto (2008; 2009-2011) received nine curtain calls in Venice's fabled La Fenice, in her debut as Desdemona, in Verdi's Otello.
- The three leading roles in San Francisco Opera's second cast of Tosca are all program alumni: Patricia Racette (1988; 1989-1990) as Tosca, Brian Jagde (2009; 2011-2012) as Cavaradossi, and Mark Delavan (1985; 1986-1987) as Scarpia. The stage director is Jose Maria Condemi (1999-2000; 2001).
- Elza van den Heever (2003-2004; 2005-2007), a member of the Frankfurt Opera, sings leading roles there in Verdi's Sicilian Vespers, Mozart's Idomeneo, and Donizetti's Maria Stuarda.
- In the Donizetti opera in Frankfurt, van den Heever sang Elizabeth, with David Lomelí (2008; 2009-2010) as George Talbot. Karen Ames, publicist for both singers, attended the Nov. 14 premiere, and says: "The performances were magnificent. Things bode very well for Elza's Met debut on Dec. 31 in the role."
Much has been written about Moore's dramatic Tosca debut on Thursday, a career-making event for a singer already well on her way to fame, but what was it like to her? She wrote to friends and fans:
I am blogging today and will post that blog after I gather together what remaining brain cells I have left. I had NEVER rehearsed with orchestra, I had run through staging ONCE and got about 10 minutes warning. Here's to adrenaline and preparation and to a mind that deals very well with splitting apart and still functioning. Thank you to every single person who has indicated or flatly told me that I cannot do this ... and thank you to doubt. You have all taught me how to fly.
She wrote on the following day:
I have sat here steeped in adrenaline for hours and hours and also steeped in gratitude. I want to throw out a few names and thoughts as they come. I think a night like last night demands gratitude at an almost meditative level. I could not be here without two very vocally gifted parents. I could not be here without every single high school, college, and grad school professor who saw more in me than I saw in myself and who pushed me.
I could not have done this last night without the direct support of the S.F. Merola/Adler Young Artist Program and without the unwavering belief of Sheri Greenawald and Mark Morash. I could not be here if David Gockley, our general director, had not asked to "hear me again" during an audition. I would not be here if Gregory Henkel, our artistic administrative director did not believe in me ... I thank the wig and make-up department, especially Gerd M Mairandres, for teaming together to get me ready in record time. I thank musical staff John Churchwell and assistant conductor Giuseppe Finzi for walking through cues and tempi with me.