This summer, Ryan Opera Center alumni are enjoying high-profile engagements at music festivals and opera houses across the country and around the world. Here are some of many glowing reviews of their summer gigs! Lucky for Chicago audiences, all Ryan Opera Center alumni featured below have sung at Lyric within the past two seasons, and several will return in 2013-14.
• Tenor René Barbera as Rodrigo in Santa Fe Opera's La donna del lago: "René Barbera, as Rodrigo, hit top-of-range pitches securely and embraced his rapid scales with gusto." – James M. Keller, The New Mexican
• Mezzo-soprano Emily Fons as Cherubino and soprano Susanna Phillips as the Countess in Santa Fe Opera's The Marriage of Figaro: "The casting of the singers is inspired. Every member of this handsome assemblage fits into the action with absolute credibility, each bringing substantial vocal and dramatic gifts to bear." – James M. Keller, The New Mexican
• Soprano Maria Kanyova as Miriam in San Francisco Opera's world premiere of The Gospel of Mary Magdalene: "The music has the most profile and intensity in the scenes for the tormented Miriam, sung by the dusky-voiced soprano Maria Kanyova." – Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times
• Baritone Quinn Kelsey as Rigoletto in Opernhaus Zürich's Rigoletto: "Kelsey was alert and naturalistic. His vulnerability glimmered in 'Cortigiani, vil razza dannata' melting through bitterness, anger, despair and resignation with an edge of agony in an effortless voice packed with lyric colors." – Courtney Smith, Auditorium Magazine
• Soprano Amanda Majeski as the Countess at Glyndebourne Festival's The Marriage of Figaro: "Amanda Majeski’s Countess is dignified and moving; her performance of 'Porgi amor' is poised but deeply reflective and a great showcase for her rich, resonant soprano." – Laura Battle, Financial Times
• Tenor Matthew Polenzani as Hoffman in San Francisco Opera's The Tales of Hoffman: "Polenzani brings physical athleticism and emotional vigor to Hoffman. Occasionally singing with beautifully soft, honeyed tone, but mostly with all-out romantic lyricism, he remains strong and rapturous throughout the opera.... Polenzani’s is a stupendous portrayal." – Jason Victor Serinus, San Francisco Classical Voice
• Tenor David Portillo as Count Almaviva in Central City Opera's The Barber of Seville: "In tenor David Portillo's hands, the count was both hilarious—particularly in his two disguises—and romantic." – Kelly Dean Hansen, DailyCamera.com
• Bass-baritone Christian van Horn as Lindorf, Coppélius, Dr. Miracle, and Dapertutto in San Francisco Opera's The Tales of Hoffman: "Performing and apparently glorying in all four villain roles is bass-baritone Christian Van Horn. He projects utterly gleeful evil with a voice of turpentine." – Claudia K. Nichols, Concertonet.com
Pictured above: Ryan Opera Center alumnus and internationally renowned tenor Matthew Polenzani.