SCHWABACHER DEBUT RECITALS – Begins February 20th at Temple Emanu-El

Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Photo by Lynn Imanaka

San Francisco Opera Center presents the 29th season of the Schwabacher Debut Recitals, on February 20th, March 6th, March 27th and April 10th at Temple Emanu-El’s Martin Meyer Sanctuary (2 Lake Street, at Arguello, San Francisco). The annual Schwabacher Debut Recitals presents recitals by artists who have participated in the programs of the San Francisco Opera Center and Merola Opera Program and offers Bay Area audiences the unique opportunity to hear gifted young singers in an intimate setting.

The 2011 series begins on Sunday, February 20th with Merola Opera Program alumnus baritone Sidney Outlaw accompanied by pianist and San Francisco Opera music staff member John Churchwell in the West Coast premiere of composer Wayne Oquin’s song cycle A Time to Break Silence: Songs Inspired by the Words and Writings of Martin Luther King, Jr. Commissioned by the Juilliard School in 2007 and inspired by the Civil Rights movement, this work received its world premiere by Outlaw at Saint Bartholomew’s Church in New York City and was broadcast on New York’s WQXR on the Marilyn Horne Foundation Debut Recital Series The Song Continues… Recently named winner of the 2010 Montserrat Caballé International Singing Competition, Outlaw appeared as Dr. Dulcamara in the Merola Opera Program’s production of L’Elisir d’Amore in 2010. A native of Brevard, North Carolina and a graduate of both the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and the Juilliard School, Outlaw completed Florida Grand Opera’s Young Artist Development Program in 2009.


The series continues on Sunday, March 6th with Merola Opera Program alumnus baritone Eugene Chan and pianist John Churchwell performing works by Tchaikovsky and Schumann as well as Poulenc’s Le Travail du Peintre. Led by New York Festival of Song’s Steven Blier on the piano, the recital on Sunday, March 27 features songs from Spain and Latin America, including music by Alberto Hemsi, Maria Grever, and Gisela Hernandez performed by current Adler Fellows Sara Gartland, soprano, and Daniel Montenegro, tenor, with former Adler Fellow Austin Kness, baritone. The final recital of the series on Sunday, April 10 will feature former Adler Fellows Daveda Karanas (mezzo-soprano) and Allen Perriello (pianist) in Wagner’s Wesendonck Lieder.

The Schwabacher Debut Recitals has been endowed in perpetuity by the generosity of the late James Schwabacher. A celebrated Bay Area singer, recitalist, scholar and teacher, James Schwabacher is a co-founder of the Merola Opera Program. The Schwabacher Debut Recitals has introduced the artistry of world-renowned opera singers, including Susan Graham, Anna Netrebko, Deborah Voigt, Brian Asawa and Thomas Hampson. The recitals offer a rare opportunity to hear a wealth of song literature ranging from Baroque masterpieces and Romantic-era classics to newly commissioned works.


All performances take place at Temple Emanu-El’s Martin Meyer Sanctuary (Two Lake Street, at Arguello, in San Francisco). Single tickets for the Schwabacher Debut Recitals are $25; a four-recital subscription is $80. Tickets may be purchased by calling the San Francisco Opera Box Office (Mon. 10 am-5 pm, Tues.-Fri. 10 am-6 pm) at (415) 864-3330. Student Rush tickets are available for $10 at Temple Emanu-El 30 minutes prior to each recital (limit of two tickets per person; valid ID is required), subject to availability.

PROGRAM 1: Sunday, February 20th, 5:30 pm
Sidney Outlaw, baritone
John Churchwell, piano
Merola Opera Program alumnus Sidney Outlaw presentsthe West Coast premiere of Wayne Oquin’s song cycle A Time to Break Silence: Songs Inspired by the Words and Writings of Martin Luther King, Jr. Outlaw will be accompanied by San Francisco Opera music staff member John Churchwell.

PROGRAM 2: Sunday, March 6th, 5:30 pm
Eugene Chan, baritone
John Churchwell, piano
Merola Opera Program alumnus Eugene Chan presentsworks by Tchaikovsky and Schumann as well as Poulenc’s Le Travail du Peintre. Chan will be accompanied by San Francisco Opera music staff member John Churchwell.

PROGRAM 3: Sunday, March 27th, 5:30 pm
Steven Blier, piano
Sara Gartland, soprano
Daniel Montenegro, tenor
Austin Kness, baritone
New York Festival of Song’s Steven Blier presents Amores Nuevos with Adler Fellows Sara Gartland and Daniel Montenegro, and former Adler Fellow Austin Kness.

PROGRAM 4: Sunday April 10th, 5:30 pm
Daveda Karanas, mezzo-soprano
Allen Perriello, piano

Former Adler fellows Daveda Karanas and pianist Allen Perriello present Wagner’s Wesendonck Lieder.

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Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Seán Martinfield, who also serves as Fine Arts Critic, is a native San Franciscan. He is a Theatre Arts Graduate from San Francisco State University, a professional singer, and well-known private vocal coach to Bay Area actors and singers of all ages and persuasions. His clients have appeared in Broadway National Tours including Wicked, Aïda, Miss Saigon, Rent, Bye Bye Birdie, in theatres and cabarets throughout the Bay Area, and are regularly featured in major City events including Diva Fest, Gay Pride, and Halloween In The Castro. As an Internet consultant in vocal development and audition preparation he has published thousands of responses to those seeking his advice concerning singing techniques, professional and academic auditions, and careers in the Performing Arts. Mr. Martinfield’s Broadway clients have all profited from his vocal methodology, “The Belter’s Method”. If you want answers about your vocal technique, post him a question on If you would like to build up your vocal performance chops and participate in the Bay Area’s rich theatrical scene, e-mail him at:


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