Ryan Opera Center singers continue their acclaimed summer concert appearances with four nights of free music downtown. Save the dates! 

MillenniumPark2012

Hear five Ryan Opera Center ensemble members perform as soloists in Schubert’s Mass in E Flat Major on Friday, August 9 at 6:30pm or Saturday, August 10 at 7:30pm. Part of the celebrated Grant Park Music Festival, these free outdoor concerts in the Jay Pritzker Pavilion boast Chicago's most melodic lake breezes and picnic opportunities until Lyric launches its 2013-14 season on Saturday, September 7 at 7:30pm with the annual Stars of Lyric Opera at Millennium Park free concert.

Chicago Tribune classical music critic John von Rhein raved about the 2013-14 Ryan Opera Center ensemble in their recent performance of Leonard Bernstein's Songfest and Elliott Carter's A Mirror on Which to Dwell at Ravinia's Martin Theatre on July 4:

"Were Bernstein still alive, I can imagine the kisses and bear hugs he would have bestowed on Thursday's performers. [The] concert was anchored by seven Ryan Center members, four of them first-year apprentices blessed with attractive, well-schooled voices and exceptional professional promise: mezzo-soprano Julie Anne Miller, tenor Adam Bonanni, baritone Anthony Clark Evans and bass-baritone Richard Ollarsaba. They appeared alongside center 'veterans' Emily Birsan and Tracy Cantin, sopranos; and J'nai Bridges, [mezzo]. Ollarsaba was fully inside the aching tenderness of Walt Whitman's homosexual confession, 'To What You Said,' a poem unpublished during the poet's lifetime. Cantin thrilled as the proud Latino woman of 'A Julia Burgos,' which she sang in the original Spanish. Two different sides of the black American experience came together vividly in the duet sung by Miller and Evans. Bridges wrapped her voluptuous voice splendidly around the bitter regret of an Edna St. Vincent Millay sonnet. Bonanni was just as adroit in his handling of the tricky rhythmic declamation of the similarly rueful 'Zizi's Lament.'... Birsan trace[d] Carter's six settings of Elizabeth Bishop poems with amazing clarity of diction, accuracy of intonation and fineness of expression." 

Ryan Opera Center singers also will provide after-work entertainment tomorrow, July 30, at 5:45 pm, when J'nai Bridges, John Irvin, and Will Liverman contribute excerpts from Rossini’s The Barber of Seville to the Rush Hour Concerts 2013 Summer Concert Series. Lyric dramaturg Roger Pines will provide connecting narration for the half hour program, which will be broadcast live from St. James Cathedral on 98.7WFMT/WFMT.com. All three Ryan Opera Center singers will revisit their famous comedic roles in Lyric Unlimited's The Family Barber next March.

SAVE THE DATES of these free downtown events on your summer calendar:

• Tuesday, July 30 at 5:45pm: "Lyric Shorts: Rossini's The Barber of Seville" at St. James Cathedral, 65 E. Huron at Wabash

• Friday, August 9 at 6:30pm: The Grant Park Music Festival presents Schubert’s Mass in E Flat Major in Pritzker Pavilion

• Saturday, August 10 at 7:30pm: The Grant Park Music Festival presents Schubert’s Mass in E Flat Major in Pritzker Pavilion

• Saturday, September 7 at 7:30pm: Stars of Lyric Opera at Millennium Park in Pritzker Pavilion

Pictured above: Stars of Lyric Opera at Millennium Park 2012 in the Jay Pritzker Pavillion (Photo: Robert Kusel/Lyric Opera of Chicago)