San Francisco Opera Center Director and Merola Opera Program Artistic Director Sheri Greenawald, whose December 2020 retirement was announced in March, received the San Francisco Opera Medal at a special Zoom event organized by San Francisco Opera and Merola Opera Program.
The Opera Medal, the Company’s highest honor, was awarded to Greenawald for her extraordinary service and leadership with the Company.
San Francisco Opera Tad and Dianne Taube General Director Matthew Shilvock said:
“On Sunday, November 11, 1978, a house debut was made by a young Marzelline in Fidelio. On that day a journey began that would encompass many roles on the War Memorial stage and a twenty-year tenure leading two of the greatest opera training programs in the world. I wonder what that young Marzelline, Sheri Greenawald, would have said at that time if you had told her that 42 years later she would have made one of the most indelible impacts in the history of this Company. The San Francisco Opera Medal was established by Kurt Herbert Adler in recognition of extraordinary artistic service over an extended period. The medal has been awarded to many of the great luminaries who have worked with the Company including Leontyne Price, Birgit Nilsson, Joan Sutherland, Marilyn Horne and Thomas Stewart, to name but a few. It is hard to imagine someone more deserving of joining this list than Sheri. Extraordinary artistic service over an extended period defines her relationship with San Francisco Opera.”
After making her 1978 debut with San Francisco Opera in Fidelio, Greenawald exhibited her artistic versatility in a number of leading roles with the Company including Lauretta in Gianni Schicchi, Pamina in Die Zauberflöte, Cordelia in Reimann’s Lear and the title roles of Massenet’s Cendrillon and Manon.
She returned to the Company in 2002 to head the San Francisco Opera Center and provide artistic leadership to Merola Opera Program. The San Francisco Opera Center’s Adler Fellowship provides young artists with a supportive environment in which to develop and flourish as resident artists of the Company.
The Adler Fellows are chosen from participants of the prestigious Merola Opera Program, a leading program for aspiring singers, coach accompanists and stage directors. During her 18 years at the helm of these elite training programs, Greenawald mentored more than 500 young artists, many of whom are the art form’s leaders today as performers, arts professionals and educators.