Widely regarded as the foremost opera training program for aspiring singers, coaches and stage directors, the Merola Opera Program is the cornerstone of San Francisco Opera’s training and performance programs for promising young artists. Established in 1957 in memory of Gaetano Merola, the first General Director of San Francisco Opera, Merola has served as a proving ground for hundreds of artists, many who have become the most recognized names in the opera world. The Program annually offers 29 artists the rare opportunity of studying, coaching and participating in master classes with established professionals for twelve weeks during the summer. Participants also perform in two complete opera productions with orchestra and two summer concerts with the San Francisco Opera Orchestra. The Merola Opera Program is a financially independent organization with a separate 501(c)3 which operates in close collaboration with the San Francisco Opera Center and San Francisco Opera.