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Lucas Meachem Sings For and About the Merola Program

September 21, 2020

One of the Merola Opera Program’s illustrious alumni, baritone Lucas Meachem (2003), opens Merola’s Virtual Recital Series on Sept. 27 at 4 p.m. PDT, with “I Left My Aria in San Francisco.”

To show his appreciation for Merola and the San Francisco Opera, Meachem says he is happy to have “the honor of opening their upcoming recital series with a livestream recital.” Performing arias he has sung with SF Opera that represent his “best memories in San Francisco,” Meachem will be accompanied by his wife Irina Meachem.

The program includes:

“Bella siccome un angelo” (Beautiful as an angel), from Donizetti’s Don Pasquale
“Hai già vinta la causa” (You have already won the case) from Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro
“Deh, vieni alla finestra” (Oh, come to the window) from Mozart’s Don Giovanni
“Kogda bï zhizn domashnim krugom” (Onegin’s aria) from Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin
“Mab, la reine des mensonges” (Mab, the queen of lies) from Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette
“Mein Sehnen, Mein Wähnen” (Pierrot’s Tanzlied — My longing, my imagination) from Korngold’s Die Tote Stadt
“In the Mornin’” — spiritual arranged by Charles Ives

“Back in 2003, the world seemed a simpler place,” Meachem told SF Classical Voice. He continues:

I had just been accepted into the prestigious Merola Opera Program with high hopes and wide-eyed aspirations, not having a clue what was in store for me as an opera singer. I knew then and I know now that Merola is the finest summer voice program for young singers in the world. Some of the most accomplished opera artists have emerged from Merola having a remarkably high rate of success stories considering how competitive our world is. Having now been around the world performing on the most regarded opera stages I can see that this program was the slingshot that propelled my career.

This will be a walk down memory lane for me. To join me on this journey, I’m the most fortunate of men to be joined by my extremely talented wife, Irina Meachem, on the piano. While these arias are from my past, I also wanted this recital to give us a glimpse of the future and the life we will return to once the chaos is over and the arts can live again. I’m happy to conclude the program with an American art song by the venerable composer Undine Smith Moore entitled ‘Love Let the Wind Cry.’”

The Meachems have launched an organization called The Perfect Day Music Foundation whose mission is to use classical music as “a relevant medium to represent the inclusivity and diversity of people today. The more we hear the music of people from diverse backgrounds the more we will perform that music which ultimately brings that music into the limelight it so deserves.”

“COVID-19 hit us hard and we’re still sitting on the sidelines, waiting.” Meachem says. “The label ‘unessential’ is somewhat emotionally gripping since the arts are fundamental to humanity. The shutdown forced people into their homes. They listened to music, radio, read books, watched TV, etc. All of these emotional outlets are because of artists.

“We would have gone mad without these escapes, especially for some who are deprived even from going outside. We must endlessly thank our doctors, nurses, grocery store employees, and teachers, but then thank an artist for being there for you when the world was ground to a halt.”

Irina Meachem adds:

“We’ve been in the comfort and safety of our home [in Minneapolis] since March and what’s kept us going is the hope that this too shall pass. Lucas being an opera singer, his lungs are so precious, so keeping him healthy is paramount right now. We have lots to keep us busy, such as our 1-year-old son. We’re becoming a family, and the quality time we’ve had from being together has solidified our deep bond.

“I get to have Lucas’s beautiful music ringing in our home and it reminds me of what we’re sacrificing by putting the arts on hold. The sign of a successful quarantine is a healthy household so for that I am forever grateful.

“The arts are alive and will recover. A pandemic won’t stop us. The artistic light in our hearts has merely dimmed, not extinguished and this recital is proof of that.”

Tickets are available at Eventbrite.

Janos Gereben appreciates news tips, corrections, and words of encouragement at [email protected].