DOLORA ZAJICK – Internationally Acclaimed Mezzo To Receive Merola Distinguished Alumni Award

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Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Photo by Lynn Imanaka

The Merola Opera Program Board of Directors will present mezzo-soprano Dolora Zajick with the Merola Distinguished Alumni Award on September 26, 2010, as announced by Chairman Jayne Davis from the stage of the War Memorial Opera House during the Merola Grand Finale evening. The award – which has only been presented five times in the program’s 53-year history – is given in recognition of extraordinarycontributions to the world of opera by graduates of the Merola Opera Program. Dolora Zajick will join past winners Thomas Hampson, Patrick Summers, Ruth Ann Swenson, Carol Vaness and Deborah Voigt as a recipient of Merola’s highest honor.

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DOLORA ZAJICK

“This award recognizes those Merola alumni that have gone on to forge truly remarkable careers—careers that change the face of opera. No one could more deserving of this honor than Dolora Zajick,” said Jayne Davis. “Shortly after leaving Merola, Dolora set the gold standard for dramatic mezzos around the world—a distinction this extraordinary artist upholds today. No short list of the greatest vocal artists of our time would be complete without Dolora—and Merola is fiercely proud of her tremendous accomplishments in the field.” 

A 1983 Merola Opera Program graduate, Ms. Zajick is well known for her quote about the program…“I came to Merola green, but I left Verdi.”  In fact, she has been universally acclaimed for performing Verdi’s most famous and difficult mezzo-soprano roles including “Azucena” in Il Trovatore, “Eboli” in Don Carlo and “Amneris” in AÏDA, which she will perform with San Francisco Opera to open the 2010-2011 Season. Dolora Zajick is the definitive Verdi mezzo-soprano of our times.

This past season Dolora Zajick appeared as “Amneris” in Aïda at the Metropolitan Opera and was featured in the high-definition simulcast. In addition, she returned to the Vienna State Opera in one of her signature roles as “Santuzza” in Cavalleria Rusticana and joined Teatro alla Scala on tour in Japan as “Eboli” in Don Carlo. With the Arizona Opera, she performed in “A Concert of Signature Arias” along with Christine Brewer, Richard Margison and Gordon Hawkins featuring arias and duets from Don Carlo, Macbeth, Norma and Lohengrin. Over her career, Ms. Zajick has sung with such companies as the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Houston Grand Opera, Covent Garden, Berlin’s Staatsoper, Opéra National de Paris, the opera companies of Naples, Florence, Barcelona, Rome, Bilbao, Munich, Madrid, the Salzburg and Orange Festivals, and the Arena di Verona, and is scheduled to perform with many of them in upcoming seasons. She has appeared in opera and concert with some of the foremost conductors of today, including Bruno Bartoletti, James Conlon, Daniele Gatti, Valery Gergiev, James Levine, Lorin Maazel, Charles Mackerras, Zubin Mehta, Riccardo Muti, Michael Tilson Thomas and the late Mstislav Rostropovich.

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DOLORA ZAJICK – as Princess Eboli. Photo, Robert Millard

Led by San Francisco Opera Center Director and internationally acclaimed soprano Sheri Greenawald, the Merola Opera Program operates in close artistic collaboration with San Francisco Opera but is an independent nonprofit organization. Governed by a separate board of directors, Merola is responsible for its own long-term financial stability and fundraising, and is grateful to the hundreds of loyal members, donors and foundations who support the Program. The Merola Opera Program is dedicated to the continuing education and training of the finest young operatic talent and the development of this talent into professional opera singers, coaches and stage directors of the highest artistic caliber. The Program was founded in 1957 and named for San Francisco Opera’s founder, Gaetano Merola. One of the most prestigious operatic training programs in the world, the Merola Opera Program typically receives more than 600 applications for 25 positions.

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DOLORA ZAJICK – as “Jeanne D’Arc”. SF Opera, 2006.
It was so French. So Tchaikovsky. So over-the-top.

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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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