Lyric Opera of Chicago

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Ryan Opera Center’s Talented Alums!

Lyric's own Ryan Opera Center  has a long roster of incredibly talented alumni. Here's what some of the singers affiliated with Lyric's prestigious training program have been up to this past season and where you can see them next season in Chicago and beyond!

The Ryan Opera Center's annual Rising Stars in Concert celebration is coming up this Saturday, March 29. It's not too late to donate $75 to Lyric and receive two complimentary tickets to this showcase of opera's future superstars.

The Ryan Opera Center has a long roster of incredibly talented alumni. Lyric's production of Mozart's La Clemenza di Tito, which closed out the 2013-14 season, is just one example. ALL of the cast members had connections to the Ryan Opera Center. Matthew Polenzani (Tito), Amanda Majeski (Vitellia), Christian van Horn (Publio), and Cecelia Hall (Annio) are all alumni of the program, and Emily Birsan (Servilia) is a current member. And Joyce DiDonato (Sesto) was just inducted as an honorary Ryan Opera Center member in a short ceremony after the Clemenza dress rehearsal.  

Here's what some of the other singers affiliated with Lyric's prestigious training program have been up to this past season and where you can see them next season in Chicago and beyond!

Elizabeth Futral 
(Ryan Opera Center member from 1989 to 1991) 

Past season   Highlights of Elizabeth's busy 2013-14 season include her role debut as Desiree Armfeldt in Houston Grand Opera's production of Sondheim's A Little Night Music , a role debut as Zdenka in Minnesota Opera's production of Strauss's Arabella, and a performance of one of her signature roles, Lucia di Lammermoor, for Portland Opera.

Coming soon! — Catch Elizabeth as Elsa Schraeder in Lyric's upcoming all-new production of Rodgers and Hammerstein's The Sound of Music  opening on April 25 right here at the beautiful Civic Opera House.   

Andriana Chuchman
(Ryan Opera Center member from 2007 to 2010)
 

Past season — Andriana had an amazing 2013-14 season. Already slated to debut with the Metropolitan Opera in February 2014 in The Enchanted Island, her debut came a month earlier as Adina in L'Elisir d'Amore when Anna Netrebko was ill for opening night. Andriana stepped in and wowed the New York critics!  

Coming soon! — Andriana is part of the amazing cast that makes up Lyric's new production of Mozart's Don Giovanni  that opens the 2014-15 season, with Robert Falls directing and Sir Andrew Davis conducting. She will also appear with Vancouver Opera in Sondheim's Sweeney Todd in April 2015.

Quinn Kelsey
(Ryan Opera Center member from 2003 to 2006)
 

Past season — Quinn made his role debut as Germont in Lyric's new production of Verdi's La Traviata in October 2013. He also performed the title role in Verdi's Rigoletto for English National Opera and in I vespri siciliani at Oper Frankfurt.

Coming soon! — Catch him at Lyric as Count di Luna in Verdi's Il Trovatore in October 2014. He will also perform as Marcello in the Metropolitan Opera's La Bohème in September 2014.  

Amber Wagner
(Ryan Opera Center member from 2007 to 2010)
 

Past season — In addition to welcoming her first child in summer 2013, Amber performed Verdi's Requiem with Sir Andrew Davis and the Melbourne Symphony in September 2013 and made her Washington National Opera debut in Verdi's La Forza del Destino in October 2013.

Coming soon! — Like Quinn Kelsey, Amber comes home to Lyric next season in Il Trovatore  as Leonora from October 27 to November 29. Then she's back just a few months later, starring in Tannhäuser  as Elisabeth from February 9 to March 6, 2015.

Amanda Majeski 
(Ryan Opera Center member from 2009 to 2011) 

Past season — Amanda was part of the dream cast of La Clemenza di Tito  that wrapped up Lyric's 2013-14 season. She also made her role debut as Donna Elvira in Mozart's Don Giovanni at Opera Philadelphia, as well as making her Carnegie Hall solo recital debut at Weill Recital Hall. 

Coming soon! — This Gurnee native will be back in her hometown to conclude another Lyric season. This time, she stars as Marta in Weinberg's The Passenger  from February 24 to March 15, 2015. She will also make her Metropolitan Opera debut as Countess Almaviva in the Met's new production of Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro in December 2014. 

Photo credits: Elizabeth Futral (credit Karli Cadel), Andriana Chuchman (credit Chia Messina), Quinn Kelsey (credit Dan Rest), Amanda Majeski (credit Dario Acosta).

Tweets galore about Lyric's 2014-15 season

Opera fans around the world were filled with delight at the announcement of Lyric's Diamond Anniversary season and shared their feelings on Twitter!

Opera fans around the world were filled with delight at the announcement of Lyric's Diamond Anniversary season! Read on for some of the day's best tweets—including from Don Giovanni director Robert Falls. (Looking for more details about the great operas to come? Here's a short recap of the 2014-15 season announcement press conference). 

 

Lyric1415SeasonAnnouncement

A Glittering Diamond Anniversary Season!

Today, Lyric's Anthony Freud and Sir Andrew Davis, with creative consultant Renée Fleming joining from New York,  announced the complete lineup of operas, musicals, recitals, recitals, and other special events that make up the spectacular 2014-15 season.

SeasonAnnouncement

In the continuing subzero temperatures, Lyric Opera of Chicago gave opera fans something to look forward to—its Diamond Anniversary. Today, Lyric's Anthony Freud and Sir Andrew Davis, with creative consultant Renée Fleming joining from New York,  announced the complete lineup of operas, musicals, recitals, and other special events that make up the spectacular 2014-15 season.

Lyric's 60th anniversary season is a blockbuster lineup of new productions, returning stars, and reinventions of perennial favorites. Today would have been Mozart's 258th birthday, so it was only fitting to announce that a new production of Don Giovanni—directed by the legendary Robert Falls and conducted by Sir Andrew Davis—kicks off next season. This production, running from September 27-October 29, features Mariusz Kwiecien in the title role and Marina Rebeka, Ana María Martínez, and Ryan Opera Center alum Andriana Chuchman as the trio of women he seduces. Don Giovanni also opened Lyric's first season in 1954!

Creative consultant Renée Fleming shines in Capriccio  (October 6-28)  as the Countess, which she was quick to point out is one of her favorite roles. Fleming has performed this role many times with Anne Sofie von Otter (Clairon) and Bo Skovhus (the Count). They are joined by William Burden, Auden Iversen in his Lyric debut, and Peter Rose with Sir Andrew Davis on the podium for this elegant masterpiece.

Verdi's dramatic Il Trovatore  (October 27-November 29) returns with the David McVicar production, with Leah Hausman as revival director/choreographer and Asher Fisch conducting. Trovatore is a massive spectacle that has some of the largest sets and cast requirements of all the operas in Lyric's current arsenal. The principals are Yonghoon Lee, Ryan Opera Center alumna Amber Wagner, the phenomenal Stephanie Blythe, and Ryan Opera Center alum Quinn Kelsey.

Eric Owens, who was just announced as Wotan for Lyric's upcoming Ring cycle, graces the stage in the title role of Gershwin's Porgy and Bess (November 17-December 20)—which Freud considers "one of the greatest of all 20th century operas" with Adina Aaron debuting as Bess. Jermaine Smith, Eric Greene, and Angel Blue (also a debut), round out the main cast in this revival of Francesca Zambello's acclaimed production. Fomer Lyric Opera Orchestra principal trombone Ward Stare returns after this season's triumphant Die Fledermaus to conduct.

Sondra Radvanovsky returns to Lyric as the title role in Donizetti's Anna Bolena  (December 6-January 16, 2015), a work which Freud described as "a dream of history." Jamie Barton, who just won the Cardiff Singer of the World competition, portrays Jane Seymour. Bryan Hymel makes his Lyric debut as Percy and John Relyea is Henry VIII. This new Lyric production is directed by Kevin Newbury, who is also directing the upcoming Lyric commission Bel Canto, and Patrick Summers makes his podium debut.

Puccini's Tosca is one of the monuments in operatic repertoire. Lyric gives it a new production directed by John Caird, who directed this season's Parsifal, with an intriguing double cast (January 24-March 14, 2015). Tatiana Serjan (making her debut) and Hui He share the title role, with Misha Didyk and Jorge de Leon both debuting as Cavaradossi, and Evgeny Nikitin (debut) and Mark Delavan appearing as the villainous Scarpia. Both casts are led by conductor Dmitri Jurowski, also making his debut.

Wagner's lush and melodic Tannhäuser  (January 24-March 14, 2015) explores the dramatic tension between cerebral and erotic love. Taking on one of Wagner's most memorable scores, Sir Andrew Davis leads a stellar cast that includes Johan Botha, Amber Wagner (appearing for a second time in the season) as Elisabeth, Michaela Schuster as Venus, and Gerald Finley as Wolfram, which Freud calls "absolute dream casting."

The last opera of the season is Weinberg's The Passenger, the powerful and gripping work that tells a story of the Holocaust through two women—Auschwitz prisoner Marta and her sadistic guard Liese—running from February 24-March 15, 2015.  Though the opera was announced on January 17 along with the new Ring cycle (read more about that special announcement), the full cast was formalized with Ryan Opera Center alum Amanda Majeski, Daveda Karanas, Brandon Jovanovich, and Joshua Hopkins creating the four main characters: Marta, Liese, Liese's husband Walter, and Marta's fiancé Tadeusz.

Finally, Carousel continues the American Musical Theater Initiative, running from April 10-26, 2015 with the remarkable Denyce Graves making her role debut as Nettie Fowler. Rob Ashford, who is making his Lyric and operatic debut later this week with The Barber of Seville, returns to direct this most operatic of Rodgers & Hammerstein's musicals featuring such beloved songs as "If I Loved You" and "You'll Never Walk Alone." Additional casting details to be announced soon!

Freud and Davis were also able to announce the following very special programming for the 60th anniversary:

  • 60th anniversary gala concert - Renée Fleming headlines a very special tribute to Lyric's first 60 years on November 1. Fleming will perform a special collaboration with jazz legend Ramsey Lewis-which Fleming said had been on his wish list for years. Also appearing are opera world luminaries Susan Graham, Ana María Martínez, Sondra Radvanovsky, Johan Botha, Eric Owens, and Samuel Ramey. A very special surprise celebrity emcee (start guessing now!) will also be on hand to host the evening.
  • The Magic Victrola  - an all new family presentation! For those who loved Popcorn & Pasquale and are looking forward to the upcoming The Family Barber, in 2014-15 Lyric presents The Magic Victrola, a kid-friendly introduction to opera that features music by Verdi, Puccini, and more on January 17, 2015! A presentation of Lyric Unlimited.
  • A brand-new mariachi opera! Lyric is proud to host the world premiere of El Pasado Nunca Se Termina (The Past is Never Finished), by Jose "Pepe" Martínez and Leonard Foglia  on March 28 and 29, 2015. This story weaves together Halley's Comet and the eve of the Mexican Revolution into a boiling clash of cultures and generations that it still playing out today.  A presentation of Lyric Unlimited.
  • Lang Lang returns! After playing a dual role at this year's Grammy Awards—rocking with Metallica and introducing the "In Memoriam" segment—Lang Lang returns to the Civic Opera House for his only Chicago-area appearance in 2015 on May 9, 2015.

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