Lyric Opera of Chicago

The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center at Lyric Opera of Chicago Rising Stars in Concert

Press Release Letterhead

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Hear tomorrow’s opera stars today – in a live concert
that can be heard internationally on!

  The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center at Lyric Opera of Chicago
“Rising Stars in Concert”
to close spectacular 2010-11 season on Saturday, April 2, at 7:30 p.m.

  For the first time ever, concert to be broadcast live on
98.7WFMT and streamed live on 


New this year! Opera aficionados can hear the season-closing concert by the ensemble members of The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center at Lyric Opera of Chicago – anywhere in the world!

 The outstanding singers of the Ryan Opera Center will conclude an extraordinarily successful year of study and performance with the end-of-season Rising Stars in Concert for Lyric Opera donors Saturday, April 2, at 7:30 p.m. in the Ardis Krainik Theatre of the Civic Opera House. Tickets for this concert are a benefit available only to Lyric Opera donors of $50 and above. It is not open to the public.

For the first time ever, Rising Stars in Concert will be broadcast live locally on 98.7WFMT and streamed live on The live broadcast will begin at 7:15 p.m. and is generously sponsored by the Donna Van Eekeren Foundation, which is also the concert’s lead sponsor. The classical station’s afternoon drive-time program host George Preston and Lyric’s dramaturg Roger Pines will serve as host and commentator respectively.

Jennifer Jakob and Amanda Majeski (sopranos), Emily Fons and Katherine Lerner (mezzo-sopranos), René Barbera and James Kryshak (tenors), Paul La Rosa and Paul Scholten (baritones), Sam Handley and Craig Irvin (bass-baritones), and Evan Boyer (bass) will perform selections from operas by Bellini, Berlioz, Bizet, Donizetti, Handel, Mozart, Puccini, Rossini, Richard Strauss, Stravinsky, Verdi, Wagner, and Weber. There will be projected English translations for all the selections performed. The singers will be accompanied by members of the Lyric Opera Orchestra, conducted by Sir Andrew Davis, Lyric’s music director.

Rising Stars in Concert is generously sponsored by the Donna Van Eekeren Foundation, Lead Sponsor, and The Lester S. Abelson Foundation, Accenture, Accretive Health, Julie and Roger Baskes, Sue and Melvin Gray, Evelyn Greene, Howard Family Foundation, and the Chauncey and Marion D. McCormick Family Foundation, with additional support from Mr. and Mrs. Allan Drebin, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas D. Heath, and Molex Incorporated.

Lyric audiences have seen the 2010-11 Ryan Opera Center members perform critically acclaimed principal and supporting roles during Lyric Opera of Chicago’s 56th season. They also served as understudies for major and minor roles throughout the season.

Of the 11 singers in the 2010-11 ensemble, seven will return to the program for 2011-12: René Barbera, Evan Boyer, Emily Fons, Jennifer Jakob, James Kryshak, Paul La Rosa, and Paul Scholten. Six new ensemble members will join them: sopranos Emily Birsan and Kiri Deonarine, mezzo-soprano Cecelia Hall, tenor Bernard Holcomb, baritone Joseph Lim, and bass-baritone David Govertsen have been accepted into the world-renowned program beginning in May 2011.

The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center at Lyric Opera of Chicago was established in 1974 as the professional artist-development program for Lyric Opera of Chicago. Since its inception, the Ryan Opera Center has been recognized as one of the premier programs of its kind in the world. That standing is maintained by providing the finest up-and-coming singers with unparalleled training and experience. Gianna Rolandi is director of the Ryan Opera Center, and Dan Novak is manager.

Selected from some 400 singers who audition annually, the Ryan Opera Center ensemble members are in residence for nearly 12 months. Over the course of the year they receive advanced instruction in numerous aspects of operatic performance, including voice lessons and coachings, language and acting training, and master classes with some of opera’s most celebrated artists, including Joyce DiDonato, Paul Groves, Nathan Gunn, Marilyn Horne, Frank Lopardo, Sondra Radvanovsky, Renata Scotto, and Deborah Voigt.

Ryan Opera Center members gain valuable performing experience by participating in recitals and concerts at many Chicago-area venues. During Lyric Opera’s mainstage season, they perform and understudy roles at all levels. This presents an extraordinary opportunity to work with the world’s greatest opera singers, conductors, directors, orchestra, and chorus.

A testament to the Ryan Opera Center’s caliber and success is the roster of distinguished alumni who perform regularly on the stages of leading international opera houses. It includes Harolyn Blackwell, Nicole Cabell, David Cangelosi, Mark S. Doss, Christopher Feigum, Elizabeth Futral, Roger Honeywell, Joseph Kaiser, Maria Kanyova, Quinn Kelsey, Kathleen Kim, Dina Kuznetsova, Gary Lehman, Emily Magee, Marlin Miller, Susanna Phillips, Matthew Polenzani, Franco Pomponi, Patricia Risley, Roy Cornelius Smith, Erin Wall, and Guang Yang.