STERN GROVE FESTIVAL FINALE – Featuring Tenor Marco Berti, Sunday at 2:00

All Italian repertoire celebrates a new era for San Francisco Opera and Nicola Luisotti as Music Director

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By Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Photo by Lynn Imanaka

The finale of the 72nd Season of the STERN GROVE FESTIVAL features the renowned San Francisco Opera Orchestra conducted by Giuseppe Finzi. The concert focuses on great Italian opera, including selections from Un Ballo in Maschera, Cavalleria Rusticana, Tosca, Turandot, La Wally, Adrianna Lecouvreur, and more. Guest singers are tenor Marco Berti, sopranos Heidi Melton, Leah Crocetto, and Tamara Wapinsky, and mezzo-soprano Daveda Karanas.

Recently appointed assistant music director for San Francisco Opera, Giuseppe Finzi made his Company debut in 2008 conducting The Elixir of Love for Families and returned for performances of La Bohème. His upcoming engagements include Così fan tutte in Brindisi and at Milan’s Piccolo Teatro. A native of Bari, Italy, he studied composition and conducting at the Milan’s Giuseppe Verdi Conservatory. Finzi has worked as an assistant conductor, coach and pianist at Milan’s La Scala, the Teatro Carlo Felice in Genoa, the Teatro Giuseppe Verdi in Florence and Ravenna’s Teatro Alighieri. In the 2009-10 San Francisco Opera season Finzi conducts performances of Abduction from the Seraglio and La Fanciulla del West.

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GIUSEPPE FINZI, Conductor and HEIDI MELTON, Soprano

Soprano Heidi Melton, a 2009 Adler Fellow and former Merola Opera Program participant, made her San Francisco Opera debut as Marianne (Der Rosenkavalier) and also appeared as Diane (Iphigénie en Tauride) and created the role of Mary Todd Lincoln in Philip Glass’s Appomattox. She recently performed the role of Mrs. Grose (The Turn of the Screw) with San Francisco Opera Center at Lincoln Theater in Yountville and was heard as Amelia in scenes from Simon Boccanegra at Yerba Buena Gardens.

Marco Berti made his San Francisco Opera debut as Don José (Carmen) in 2006, a role he has performed previously at the Metropolitan Opera; the Royal Opera, Covent Garden; and in Verona, Turin, Cagliari, and Copenhagen. The tenor returns to the Company this fall in the title role of Il Trovatore. Upcoming engagements include Calaf in Barcelona and Valencia, Dick Johnson (La Fanciulla del West) in Seville, Manrico at the Met, and Riccardo (Un Ballo in Maschera) at the Vienna State Opera.

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TAMARA WAPINSKY, Soprano and MARCO BERTI, Tenor

Second-year Adler Fellow Tamara Wapinsky made her War Memorial Opera House debut as Freia (Das Rheingold) this past summer. The Pennsylvania native made her Company debut as The Water in The Little Prince last May and returned as Musetta (La Bohème) this past fall. She created the role of Tallulah Carter in Thomas Pasatieri’s The Hotel Casablanca with the 2007 Merola Opera Program.

Daveda Karanas, a Louisiana native, is a second-year Adler Fellow and made her Company debut in Boris Godunov this season. She sang the role of Tisbe in the 2007 production of La Cenerentola with the Merola Opera Program. Karanas’s awards include the grand prize in the Arizona Opera League competition and the Encouragement Award at the Marilyn Horne Foundation competition. She is a former international semi-finalist in the Neue Stimmen competition and most recently a grand prize winner at the 2008 Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions. She holds degrees from Arizona State University and Southeastern Louisiana University.

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DAVEDA KARANSAS, Mezzo-soprano and LEAH CROCETTO, Soprano

First-year Adler Fellow Leah Crocetto hails from Adrian, Michigan and Oxford, Connecticut. The soprano is an alumna of the 2008 Merola Opera Program, where she performed scenes as Norina (Don Pasquale) and the title role of Manon in the Schwabacher Summer Concert. Her other credits include The Baker’s Wife and The Witch (Into the Woods) and Flower Girl (Naughty Marietta), and she was a recent soloist with the Adrian Symphony Orchestra.

Stern Grove Festival takes place in Sigmund Stern Grove, located at the corner of 19th Avenue and Sloat Boulevard in San Francisco. Patrons are encouraged to use public transportation. There is no parking at Stern Grove and street parking in the area is extremely limited. The Festival provides a complimentary bike valet service at the 19th Avenue and Sloat entrance to the park. The valet service opens at 10:00 a.m. and closes one hour after the concert ends. Click here for more information: SIGMUND STERN GROVE

The performance is dedicated to the memory of Elise S. Haas, Festival Chair from 1956 to 1968.

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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”, which is being prepared for publication. If you want answers about your vocal technique, post him a question on AllExperts.com. 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: sean.martinfield@comcast.net.

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