After a long lyric soprano career on the world's most famous stages, Sheri Greenawald hung her hat in San Francisco to become artistic director of the Merola program. She now auditions a bazillion apprentice singers each year to pick the cream of the crop. The roughly thirty-under-thirty who are selected then get invited to spend a summer in San Francisco for an eleven weeks intensive training with singing and acting coaches, diction specialists in multiple languages, and master classes with top shelf opera luminaries.

Anna Netrebko, Patricia Racette, Ruth Ann Swenson, Joyce DiDonato, Carol Vaness, Deborah Voigt, Susan Graham, Dolora Zajick, Brian Asawa, Gary Lakes, Kurt Streit, Jess Thomas, Rolando Villazón, Thomas Hampson all attended. It's faster to ask: which American opera star did not go through Merola? You can witness the blossoming of these singers through performances: a fully staged Marriage of Figaro at the Everett Middle School theater on August 1st, 7:30pm and 3rd, 2pm; and a Grand Finale on August 17th on the stage of the opera house, where most of these kids belong. We talked to Sheri on the phone regarding the program and her young artists.