09. August 2010 · Comments Off on Elixir, Over & Out · Categories: Merola, Opera

So I’m done with Merola for the year. They have one more concert, the Grand Finale, but the “real” opera folks play that one. I will just be arriving home from a trip the day before, so I can’t imagine having the energy to get up to San Francisco to hear them, but I sure would have loved it if I could. I think this year gave us such a treat; what a fine group of singers!

And yet they, like yours truly, manage to have issues too. Today I arrived at the hall to see last night’s Dulcamara, Thomas Florio rehearsing with today’s Adina, Valentina Fleer. Clearly today’s scheduled Dulcamara, Sidney Outlaw, was ill. (Later this was confirmed.) On the second night of performances the tenor, Alexander Lewis, singing Nemorino, had to leave partway into act two and Daniel Montenegro had to jump in (he sang the previous night). It was clear Mr. Lewis was suffering, as we could hear him coughing. Poor guy. I was so happy to see and hear him on stage today, though, and he did a wonderful job!

To add to the hearing aid noise of Saturday night, Sunday’s performance brought in some attendees who, sitting in the second row, placed two bouquets of very fragrant flowers in the empty first row in front of them (I sit right in front of that empty row). I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to handle this, but I did survive. They were at the other end of the “pit” and I wondered if the strings were at all bothered. (Without those flowers we still are “blessed”. I smell what to me seems like a cabbage stench which I believe is from the bay water or some such thing. I don’t know if everyone smells it as strongly as I though; I have a very keen sense of smell.)

I never know, from year to year, if I’ll be asked back. The hiring order has been “real” opera folk first (they usually turn it down), then two other players who toured with Merola back when they did that sort of thing, and finally me. So far. You never know if you’ll remain on a list when you aren’t under any sort of contract. I do hope I get to do something next year; I really love hearing these incredibly talented young singers! I start to feel as if I know them, even while they wouldn’t even recognize me if they walked by me. (Shoot, I’d go to the post-performance reception listed below if I had the time and $$ … ah well!) You never know which of these singers will go on to do incredible things. I do recall playing in the Grand Finale (back when they had to hire and extra and I was miraculously called) for Anna Netrebko and Rolando Villazón, among others. (I should pull out my programs to see what other names appear!)

If you are interested in the Grand Finale here’s a bit of info:

Merola Grand Finale

Saturday, August 21, 7:30 PM
War Memorial Opera House
$45 Orchestra Premium and Grand Tier Premium | $35 Orchestra and Grand Tier
$25 Dress Circle | $15 Students
Merola Grand Finale Reception

Saturday, August 21, post-performance
War Memorial Opera House, Lower Level Cafe

To purchase tickets by phone:

San Francisco Opera Box Office
Phone: (415) 864-3330
Monday 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Tuesday-Friday 10:00 am – 6:00 pm

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