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date: 17 October 2019

Merola, Gaetano locked

  • Allan Ulrich

Extract

(b Naples, Italy, Jan 4, 1881; d San Francisco, CA, Aug 30, 1953). Conductor and impresario of Italian birth. Son of a violinist, he graduated from the Naples Conservatory in 1898 and the following year secured a post as assistant conductor at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. After touring with Henry Savage’s opera company, he became associated with Oscar Hammerstein’s two companies (the Manhattan Opera, 1906–10, and the London Opera, 1910–12), and conducted the San Carlo Opera in San Francisco between 1918 and 1922. A year later he founded the San Francisco Opera, and as its first general director conducted the inaugural performance, La bohème, on 26 September at the Civic Auditorium. In the 30 years he held the position, the San Francisco Opera became one of America’s leading opera companies. Merola filled most of the principal roles with singers from the Metropolitan, and he worked almost entirely within the confines of the standard French, Italian, and German repertory. Nevertheless, he introduced San Francisco to Wagner’s ...

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