John Churchwell (pianist) Photo: Marc Olivier Le Blanc

Schwabacher Recital Series To Get Underway

Now in its 39th year, the Schwabacher Recital Series, presented by San Francisco Opera Center and the Merola Opera Program, returns this spring with a series of four recitals (March 1, March 22, April 12 and May 18) at San Francisco’s Dianne and Tad Taube Atrium Theater and San Francisco Conservatory of Music’s Barbro Osher Recital Hall. The series presents emerging and esteemed artists from around the globe, performing an eclectic selection of song literature and new works in the intimacy of a recital setting,

The series opens on March 1 with a program focusing on songs in German, French and Chinese. Two Merola alumni will share the stage: soprano Meigui Zhang (2018) and pianist John Churchwell (1996). They are also both graduates of the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program.

Meigui Zhang made her San Francisco Opera debut in Summer 2022 as Dai Yu in Bright Sheng and David Henry Hwang’s Dream of the Red Chamber and returned last November in another role debut in Gluck’s Orpheus and Eurydice, garnering praise from Opera News as a “touchingly expressive, plush-voiced Eurydice.” The Chinese soprano is also the subject of an episode of the Company’s award-winning video portrait series, In Song. As a Merola participant, she performed the role of Anne Trulove in The Rake’s Progress. Her Metropolitan Opera appearances include roles in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro and Verdi’s Macbeth and Don Carlos.

San Francisco Opera’s Head of Music Staff John Churchwell was recently appointed co-director, with mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke, of the Lehrer Vocal Institute at Santa Barbara’s Music Academy of the West. He has assisted on more than 140 productions and collaborated with the world’s leading conductors, including Eun Sun Kim, Nicola Luisotti, Donald Runnicles, James Conlon, Marco Armiliato and Fabio Luisi and was an assistant conductor at the Metropolitan Opera. He has collaborated in recital with many acclaimed artists, notably Renée Fleming, Joyce DiDonato, Susan Graham, Lawrence Brownlee, Lisette Oropesa, Isabel Leonard and Michael Fabiano.

Tickets available at and (415) 864-3330