My opera Prospero’s Island, on Claudia Stevens’ libretto based on Shakespeare, premiered at Herbst Theatre, SF in March, 2023. The production included the San Francisco Girls Chorus as well as many excellent soloists.

Our opera Howards End, America premiered at Z Space in San Francisco in February, 2019 with a stellar cast accompanied by a chamber orchestra–Earplay Ensemble and guests–under Earplay’s conductor Mary Chun. Philip Lowery directed, Jeremy Knight designed the stunning projections. Cast included Nikki Einfeld as Margaret Schlegel, Sara Duchovnay as Helen Schlegel, Philip Skinner as Henry Wilcox,  Michael Dailey as Leonard Bast, Candace Johnson as Jacky Bast, Erin Neff as Ruth Wilcox, and Daniel Cilli as Charles Wilcox.

The premiere was hailed by Lois Silverstein in Operawire as “Elegant, thoughtful and persuasive . . . each aspect of the story plumbed its dramatic depth.  Action and character moved the whole together . . . Shearer’s score had everything. Sometimes it seemed like a tap dance, counterpointing the eloquent lyrics Stevens created. Intimate and powerful . . . with never a false note.  We need more opera at this level that is provocative as well as satisfying.” And James Ambroff-Tahan described it in the San Francisco Examiner as “a refreshing stateside spin on a classic story (headline). . . the chamber opera is a fresh, resonant, gripping America take on the classic English novel.” For many more quotes and full reviews visit

We are pleased and proud that the premiere of Middlemarch in Spring was listed among the notable classical music events world-wide by Encyclopedia Brittanica in its Year-End Review, and was named among the TOP TEN OPERATIC EVENTS of 2015 by Joshua Kosman of the San Francisco Chronicle. This adds new honors to the very positive reviews of Spring 2015:

“…a rare phenomenon: a new opera of dramatic integrity, with music that’s both boldly modern and instantly accessible.” Janos Gereben’s review of Allen Shearer’s Middlemarch in Spring, San Francisco Examiner, March 20, 2015

“Shearer’s score [is] tuneful, elegant and canny in its creation of musical character . . . music of wonderful ardor and allure.” –Joshua Kosman’s review of Middlemarch in Spring, San Francisco Chronicle, March 23, 2015.

See “News” for more reviews.

Middlemarch in Spring was given its East coast premiere by Charlottesville Opera, and has now been given another fine new production by the University of Tennessee Opera Theater in Knoxville’s Bijou Theater.

Allen Shearer is a composer and baritone active in the San Francisco Bay Area. His music is performed and appreciated across the US and abroad, and has earned him many prizes and honors. He composes vocal and instrumental music and especially opera, his main focus in recent years.

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