Named for Gaetano Merola, San Francisco Opera's first General Director, the Merola Opera Program is an 11-week summer training program featuring classes and public performances of operas to give the selected artists a comprehensive education at this early point in their careers.


Each year, nearly 800 artists between the ages of 20 and 34 audition at sites across the country and approximately 27 are chosen, making it an illustrious honor to be accepted into Merola Opera Program. The Merola participants, (approximately 22 singers, 4 apprentice coaches and one stage director) receive intensive training for 11 weeks.


A true highlight of the program is the offering of master classes, where some of opera’s most exciting legends transfer their knowledge to the next generation of Merola artists. Participants have several chances to demonstrate their artistic growth as they perform a fully-staged opera during the summer, a free concert at the Yerba Buena Gardens, a concert at the Herbst Theatre and the famed Merola Grand Finale at the War Memorial Opera House.

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