Cooke & Vinocour at SFS
Die Walküre Panel Discussion

Meet the Merolini 2010

The 24 of the 25 Merolini for 2010 were interviewed by San Francisco Opera Center Director Sheri Greenawald, Merola Opera Board of Directors Chairman Jayne Davis, and President Patrick Wilken yesterday evening, in the Green Room of the War Memorial Veterans Building. This year three of the participants are Canadian, and we have only one Iowan. Three of the singers have switched from one voice type to another, Alexander Lewis and Kevin Ray were both baritones, but are now tenors; and baritone Sidney Outlaw had been a bass. Perhaps more interestingly we have several singers from different genres: Lewis toured in The Phantom of the Opera, mezzo Colleen Brooks was in rock band, soprano Rebecca Davis sang back up for a country artist, and soprano Abigail Santos Villalobos was a gospel singer. The pace of the interviews was kept at a good clip, with each person only being asked two questions.

Unfortunately, baritone Ao Li was not present, as he is having visa troubles. Afterward, I finally got to meet Eleazar Rodríguez, and also spoke to Renée Rapier, Nadine Sierra, Rebecca Davis, Michael Spassov, and Abigail Santos Villalobos. It was amusing to speak to Rapier about playing viola and enjoying "large and gaudy accessories." Current Adler Tamara Sanikidze came to the reception and asked us if anyone had told a funnier story than she did last year, and the answer had to be, quite honestly, no.

Schwabacher Summer Concert
Colleen Brooks: Rosina (Il barbiere di Siviglia)
Janai Brugger-Orman: Sophie (Werther)
Rebecca Davis: Rodelinda (Rodelinda), Mařenka (The Bartered Bride)
Robin Flynn: Unulfo (Rodelinda)) 
Dan Kempson: Fluth (The Merry Wives of Windsor), Figaro (Il barbiere di Siviglia)
Ryan Kuster: Garibaldo (Rodelinda), Bartolo: (Il barbiere di Siviglia), Dr. Caius (The Merry Wives of Windsor)
Renée Rapier: Charlotte (Werther)
Kevin Ray: Grimoaldo (Rodelinda), Jeník: (The Bartered Bride), Slender (The Merry Wives of Windsor)
Eleazar Rodríguez: Fenton (The Merry Wives of Windsor), Count Almaviva (Il barbiere di Siviglia)
Kevin Thompson: Falstaff (The Merry Wives of Windsor), Basilio (Il barbiere di Siviglia)

L'elisir d'amore
Nemorino: Alexander Lewis, Daniel Montenegro
Adina: Valentina Fleer, Nadine Sierra
Belcore: Benjamin Covey, Ao Li
Dulcamara: Thomas Florio, Sidney Outlaw
Giannetta: Hye Jung Lee, Abigail Santos Villalobos


In the spirit of full-disclosure, I feel I should mention that I am the president of the Opera Standees Association, which often sponsors two Merolini a year. This summer we are sponsoring Abigail Santos Villalobos and Sidney Outlaw.