Opera singer Leontyne Price directing a master class in the Merola Opera Program in 1986.
Hampson in June 2014
San Francisco War Memorial Opera House
San Francisco Opera programs, 1934–36
Kurt Herbert Adler (1966)

Merola has served as a proving ground for hundreds of artists, including Brian Asawa, Gregory Carroll, Laura Claycomb, Mark Delavan, John Del Carlo, Julianna Di Giacomo, Susan Graham, Thomas Hampson, Elza van den Heever, Bryan Hymel, Gary Lakes, Joyce DiDonato, Sylvia McNair, Paula Murrihy, Anna Netrebko, Patricia Racette, Kurt Streit, Fernando del Valle, Patrick Summers, Ruth Ann Swenson, Jess Thomas, Riki Turofsky, Ricardo Bernal, Carol Vaness, Rolando Villazón, Deborah Voigt, and Dolora Zajick.

- Merola Opera Program

On August 30, 1953, San Francisco Opera founder and first General Director, Gaetano Merola, died at Stern Grove while conducting a young American singer in "Un bel di" from Madama Butterfly.

- Merola Opera Program

In 1980, as a consequence of winning the San Francisco Opera audition, he competed in the Merola Opera Program, in which he met Elisabeth Schwarzkopf.

- Thomas Hampson

The next years brought performances in many of the world's most important concert venues (including Avery Fisher Hall, Barbican Centre, Carnegie Hall, Concertgebouw, Royal Albert Hall, Théâtre du Châtelet), opera houses (including Lyric Opera of Chicago, Metropolitan Opera, Paris Opera, Royal Opera House Covent Garden, San Francisco Opera, Vienna State Opera) and festivals (Mostly Mozart Festival, Maggio Musicale, the Salzburg Festival), where Hampson performed with some of the world's most renowned pianists (incl.

- Thomas Hampson

Several innovations undertaken by Adler included the Merola Opera Program (named after the first general director).

- San Francisco Opera

Many went on to international careers, among them Carol Vaness and Thomas Hampson.

- San Francisco Opera
Opera singer Leontyne Price directing a master class in the Merola Opera Program in 1986.

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