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SFCM Adding Two of Its Voices to SF Opera's Prestigious Merola Program

SFCM student Nathan Bryon, and recent grad Lindsay Martin were chosen for the Merola Opera Program this summer, known as one of the oldest and most prestigious opera training programs in the world.

March 6, 2024 by Mark Taylor

It's a dream come true for an SFCM voice student. 

Current student Nathan Bryon has been selected for the 2024 Merola Opera Program. "I first heard about the Merola Opera Program when I was back in Australia, and it always felt like a very distant dream, so it is completely surreal to be one of the 2024 Merolini," Bryon said. 

Voice alumna Lindsay Martin ('22) was also selected for the program. At SFCM Martin studied with Catherine Cook. She and Bryon are two of 29 emerging artists in this year's program (hosted at SFCM). They were selected from more than 1,300 international applicants. 

One of the oldest and most prestigious opera training programs in the world, Merola was founded in 1957 and named in honor of San Francisco Opera's first general director, Gaetano Merola. It continues to operate in close artistic collaboration with the San Francisco Opera and is widely regarded as the foremost opera training program for aspiring singers, coaches, accompanists, and stage directors. "I am excited to continue developing my technique and artistry this year at Merola," Bryon said.

At SFCM Bryon has been studying with César Ulloa. "I have had the privilege of learning from César since I arrived at SFCM in 2022. He has been an incredible mentor and pedagogue," Bryon continued. "I am very grateful to him!"

For Ulloa, seeing his longtime student recognized in this way has been especially rewarding. "Nathan has been a gift to my voice studio and the SFCM community. It has been a pleasure to have him as my student," Ulloa said. "Not only does he possess a beautiful tenor voice, but he is totally dedicated to his craft and to becoming the best musician and performer he can be," he added.

The Merola Opera Program is an internationally respected model for building strong careers in opera, with a proven balance of training, performance, and individualized support. Bryon is looking forward to taking the skills he has learned at SFCM and expanding them with this opportunity. "A particular highlight of my time here has been working with the excellent coaching staff in the opera department at SFCM. We would be lost without them and I am so grateful for all their time and expertise over these last few years," Bryon said.

Learn more about studying Voice at SFCM.