Kendra Berentsen

The Merola Grand Finale at the War Memorial Opera House in San Francisco

Just last week, Merola 2017 artists staged scenes and musical excerpts from works by Donizetti, Wagner, Leoncavallo, Massenet, Verdi, Rossini, Lehár, R. Strauss, Boito, Thomas, Mozart, Britten, and Handel

The acclaimed Merola Opera Program, one of the most prestigious and selective opera training programs in the United States, concluded its 2017 Summer Festival and its 60th Anniversary Season with the Merola Grand Finale on Saturday, August  at the War Memorial Opera House.

Conductor Antony Walker led the orchestra and 2017 Merola Apprentice Stage Director Victoria Crutchfield  staged the program, featuring works by Donizetti, Wagner, Leoncavallo, Massenet, Verdi, Rossini, Lehár, R. Strauss, Boito, Thomas, Mozart, Britten, and Handel.

The performance was a culmination of the 12-week Merola Opera training program, and all 23 of the 2017 Merola singers performed under the coaching and direction of their fellow artists.

We were so looking forward to hearing Kendra Berentsen, a soprano from Portland, Oregon, who has performed in the following roles: Juliette (Roméo et Juliette); Pamina (Die Zauberflöte); Adele (Die Fledermaus); Zerlina (Don Giovanni); Carolina (Il matrimonio segreto); Mme. Herz and Mlle. Silberklang (Der Schauspieldirektor); Frasquita (Carmen); Flora (The Turn of the Screw)

Last  week, she was featured as the Contessa in  La fille du régiment (Donizetti).

Janos Gereben, a critic with San Francisco Classical Voice, noted that Merola’s stage director Victoria Crutchfield “had a simple and clever idea of notes and flowers passed between exiting and entering singers, which allowed continuity between the largely unrelated opera scenes, with nothing forced and ample time for applause.”