* Notes *
This year's Auditions for the General Director of San Francisco Opera were yesterday evening, featuring the participants of the Merola Opera Program. It certainly was not a dull performance, and watching the 2009 crop of singers develop will be fascinating. I especially liked hearing the returning Merolini, Nathaniel Peake, in particular, has improved. His voice has a fuller bloom, so I do look forward to hearing him in the title role of L'Amico Fritz. Kate Crist sounded more secure "Du bist der Lenz" than this time last year and Benjamin LeClair continued to sound wonderful in "Come dal ciel precipita."
As for the newcomers, tenor Gregory Carroll and contralto Suzanne Hendrix seemed most promising at this early stage. Carroll has a warm, full tone, and sang both Wagner and Leoncavallo nicely. Hendrix was incredible as Erda, better than what we have heard recently on the main stage production last summer. Baritone Michael Sumuel sang "O Du, Mein Holder Abendstern" very beautifully, and mezzo Maya Lahyani has some great stage presence.
For what it is worth, David Gockley called back Evan Boyer, Lori Guilbeau, Maya Lahyani, Ryan Belongie, Brian Jadge, Sara Gartland, Gregory Carroll, Susannah Biller, and Suzanne Hendrix.
* Tattling *
Not only was there a huge and loud Pride celebration going on outside at Civic Center, but a determined crowd of Anna Netrebko fans waiting in line for a signing in the lobby of the War Memorial. However, both were more or less inaudible inside the hall. There was scattered whispering and a bit of talking amongst the audience members.