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Merola Opera Program: The Opera Version of ‘American Idol’

June 20, 2023

Did you know that right here in San Francisco is one of the leading opera training programs, the Merola Opera Program, in the world??

Hundreds of international and talented artists audition to get access to limited spots (free of charge to the selected artists!) each summer to study and train with top vocal coaches (and opera masters!) with unique performance opportunities to get the up-and-coming artists ready to take on iconic roles with renowned opera companies around the world. It truly is an opera version of “American Idol”!



Founded in 1957, the Merola Opera Program aims to discover, nurture, and develop exceptional young talent, providing them with the skills, knowledge, and guidance necessary for successful careers in the opera industry.

The program also provides invaluable networking opportunities, enabling participants to establish connections within the opera industry and gain exposure to potential career opportunities. The list of alumni includes the who’s who of the opera world! So awesome!


One of the highlights of the Merola Opera Program is the opportunity for participants to perform in fully staged productions of operatic works. These performances take place at various venues in San Francisco, including the iconic San Francisco Opera House, offering these young artists the chance to showcase their talents to Bay Area locals and traveling arts enthusiasts.

Scroll below to see which performances we are most excited about…!


Schwabacher Summer Concert:  Thursday, August 3, 7:30pm • Saturday, August 5, 2pm  

One of our favorite programs this season is the Schwabacher Summer Concert because it’s the perfect way to see some of the best scenes from notable operas in one concert experience! This year, Merola artists will be performing extended staged scenes (in costume!) from works by Donizetti, Handel, Verdi, and others accompanied by a full orchestra. We like to call it the “ultimate opera sampler”! 

This special night will be directed by Merola Alum, Omer Ben Seadia who went through the program herself in 2014. We love how Merola continues to support and bring back top-performing artists to partner with the next wave of Merola artists! It is truly a program that supports its roster of participants in perpetuity. How cool is that?!

Merola Grand Finale: Saturday, August 19, 7:30pm

We’ve been to Merola’s Grand Finale several times and it is always a great time! This is the celebratory concert featuring all the young artists of the summer program at the beautiful War Memorial Opera House. From solo works to group performances, it’s such a fun night to see how the artists flourish after their twelve weeks of training with top opera masters.

After the performance at the War Memorial Opera House, Merola hosts a beautiful reception event at one of the best-kept-secret venues in San Francisco, “The Green Room” that’s located on the second floor of the Veterans Building. It’s here where you’ll get to meet the young artists yourself and enjoy fine wines and delectable bites while overlooking the beautiful City Hall that’s always lit up at night. It truly is a night not to be missed! 

Don’t forget to sign up for a chance to WIN 2 tickets to this special evening! 

We hope to see each of you at one (or all!) of the Merola Opera Program’s exciting performances this summer to witness the extraordinary talent of the next generation of opera artists.

To find out more about Merola Opera Program’s entire 2023 season, click HERE!

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© Red Curtain Addict 2021