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Vocal Alumni See Success in the Opera World

In celebrating the achievements of SFCM’s vocal alumni, as well as the overall accomplishments of the voice and opera programs, the Conservatory has created one full-tuition scholarship for a prospective bass or baritone Master of Music or Postgraduate Diploma candidate to be made available in the 2017–18 academic year.

SFCM has had the privilege of turning out a large number of renowned musicians throughout its history, a testament to the success of both the institution’s students and faculty. Recently, a group of vocal alumni from SFCM have seen heightened success in their careers on an international scale. Tenors AJ Glueckert and Eleazar Rodríguez and baritone Efraín Solís have been heralded for their accomplishments as fast-rising talents in the opera world. For such young artists, the level of attention they’ve received is staggering. Having studied with acclaimed SFCM faculty member César Ulloa and gone through extensive training programs at San Francisco Opera and other organizations, these singers were able to get a head start in the field they were destined to be a part of.

Since graduating from SFCM, AJ Glueckert has dazzled in roles around the US and Europe, and his career took off quickly after coming to study at SFCM. “While studying at SFCM, I did two summers as a young artist at the Santa Fe Opera,” says Glueckert. “After completing my study under the tutelage of César Ulloa, I spent a year as a young artist at both Utah Opera and Minnesota Opera, figuring out the holes in my technique by spending time on stage and in roles. While at Minnesota, I had the privilege of participating in the Pulitzer Prize-winning opera, Silent Night, composed by Kevin Puts. After that, I was able to travel with the role a little bit before being accepted into the Merola Opera Program at San Francisco Opera and, subsequently, receiving an Adler Fellowship. Since my Adler Fellowship at San Francisco Opera, I have been building my repertoire of roles, including the Prince in Rusalka at New Orleans, Frankfurt, and Minnesota Operas, Don Jose in Carmen at Pittsburgh and Frankfurt Operas, Bacchus in Ariadne at St. Louis Opera Festival, and Lyonel in Martha, which opened in Frankfurt on October 16."

Eleazar Rodríguez has also made strides as a Mexican tenor of incredible fanfare, counting his early studies at SFCM as an important part of his artistic growth. “My time at SFCM was crucial for my development as an artist,” reflects Rodríguez. “Every single teacher nurtures and gets the best out of you. I was very fortunate to have been a student at SFCM when the Conservatory moved into its location on Oak Street. Being close to the San Francisco Symphony and the San Francisco Opera made a big impact on my development as an artist. I got to be part of a great studio with maestro César Ulloa, and, after being a member of the Merola Opera Program for two summers, I was invited to the perform with the Opera Ensemble of Heidelberg in Germany. It's now been almost five years I've lived and worked abroad and I’m having a blast! Last season, I made my UK debut, being the first Mexican ever in the history of the English National Opera to be part of a production.”

As a baritone on the rise, Efraín Solís has also seen raves from critics and audiences. After his performance as Slook in Rossini’s La cambiale di matrimonio, the San Francisco Chronicle commented, “For theatrical charisma and musical bravado, it would be hard to top the performance of baritone Efraín Solís. ...” Solís is graduate of the San Francisco Opera Adler Fellowship Program and, while with the company, performed roles in Die Zauberflöte, La cenerentola, La bohème, Un ballo in maschera, Tosca, and Madama Butterfly. He is also an alumnus of the Merola Opera Program. “SFCM helped me get from student to young artist by encouraging me to take risks and to think outside of the classroom,” says Solís. “Not only are there several performance opportunities, but every student gets the attention that a young musician deserves. The faculty and administration challenge, stimulate, and tailor the needs of every musician that attends, as well as support and celebrate every victory or breakthrough, so that they may continue on as contributors to the world of music and the arts at the highest level.”