By David Salazar
San Francisco Opera has awarded Sheri Greenawald with the San Francisco Opera Medal.
Greenawald recently announced her retirement from the organization, where she was the San Francisco Opera Center Director and Merola Opera Program Artistic Director.
The Opera Medal is the company’s highest honor and was given to Greenawald in recognition of her extraordinary service and leadership within the organization.
“On Sunday, November 11, 1978, a house debut was made by a young Marzelline in ‘Fidelio,” San Francisco Opera Tad and Dianne Taube General Director Matthew Shilvock stated in a press release. “On that day a journey began that would encompass many roles on the War Memorial stage and a 20-year tenure leading two of the greatest opera training programs in the world. I wonder what that young Marzelline, Sheri Greenawald, would have said at that time if you had told her that 42 years later she would have made one of the most indelible impacts in the history of this Company. The San Francisco Opera Medal was established by Kurt Herbert Adler in recognition of extraordinary artistic service over an extended period. The medal has been awarded to many of the great luminaries who have worked with the Company including Leontyne Price, Birgit Nilsson, Joan Sutherland, Marilyn Horne and Thomas Stewart, to name but a few. It is hard to imagine someone more deserving of joining this list than Sheri. Extraordinary artistic service over an extended period defines her relationship with San Francisco Opera.”
The honor was bestowed on Greenawald via a Zoom meeting that included the participation of San Francisco Opera’s Managing Director: Artistic Gregory Henkel and Association President Keith Geeslin, introducing a series of speakers and musical performances by Opera Center and Merola alumni mezzo-sopranos Ashley Dixon and Daniela Mack, tenors Pene Pati and Alek Shrader, along with San Francisco Opera Head of Music Administration John Churchwell and pianists Allen Perriello and Lorenzo Di Toro. Among the distinguished guests who joined the Zoom to honor Greenawald were San Francisco Opera General Director Emeritus David Gockley, New York Philharmonic President and CEO Deborah Borda, Merola Vice Chairman Jayne Davis, Greenawald’s artistic advisor and manager Matthew Epstein, former Santa Fe Opera General Director Richard Gaddes and soprano, Merola graduate and former San Francisco Opera Adler Fellow Karen Slack.