Lyric Opera of Chicago

Rising Stars in Concert Broadcast

Press Release Letterhead
For immediate release:
Monday, March 26, 2012

Hear tomorrow’s opera stars in a thrilling concert
streaming internationally on www.wfmt.com on April 1 – no fooling! 

The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center at Lyric Opera of Chicago
“Rising Stars in Concert”
with the Lyric Opera Orchestra conducted by Ward Stare
to close spectacular 2011-12 season on Saturday, March 31, at 7:30 p.m.  

The performance will be broadcast the following day –
Sunday, April 1, at 4 p.m. CDT
on 98.7WFMT and streamed on www.wfmt.com 

Opera aficionados can hear the season-closing concert by 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, March 31, 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 $75 and above. It is not open to the public.

Rising Stars in Concert will be broadcast locally on 98.7WFMT and streamed on www.wfmt.com on Sunday, April 1, the day after the performance, starting at 4 p.m. The broadcast 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.

Emily Birsan, Kiri Deonarine, and Jennifer Jakob (sopranos), Emily Fons and Cecelia Hall (mezzo-sopranos), René Barbera, Bernard Holcomb, and James Kryshak (tenors), Paul La Rosa, Joseph Lim, and Paul Scholten (baritones), David Govertsen (bass-baritone), and Evan Boyer (bass) will perform in works of Adams, Bellini, Berlioz, Bernstein, Bizet, Delibes, Donizetti, Gounod, Mozart, Puccini, Rachmaninov, Rossini, Richard Strauss, Tchaikovsky, and Verdi. 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 Ward Stare.

Rising Stars in Concert is generously sponsored by the Donna Van Eekeren Foundation, Lead Sponsor, and Accretive Health, Julie and Roger Baskes, Ann M. Drake, Sue and Melvin Gray, Evelyn Greene, Howard Family Foundation, Chauncey and Marion D. McCormick Family Foundation, Frank B. Modruson and Lynne C. Shigley, J. Christopher and Anne N. Reyes Foundation, and SXC Health Solutions Corp., with additional support from Heidi Heutel Bohn, Mr. and Mrs. Allan Drebin, and Molex Incorporated.

Lyric audiences have seen the 2011-12 Ryan Opera Center members perform critically acclaimed principal and supporting roles during Lyric Opera of Chicago’s 57th season. They also served as understudies for major and minor roles throughout the season.

Of the 13 singers in the 2011-12 ensemble, seven will return to the program for 2012-13: Emily Birsan, Evan Boyer, Kiri Deonarine, David Govertsen, Cecelia Hall, Bernard Holcomb, and Joseph Lim. Four new ensemble members will join them: soprano Tracy Cantin, mezzo-soprano J’nai Bridges, tenor John Irvin, and baritone Will Liverman (a finalist in the recent Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions) have been accepted into the world-renowned program beginning in May 2012.

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 David Daniels, Joyce DiDonato, Renée Fleming (Lyric’s creative consultant), Nathan Gunn, Matthew Polenzani (a Ryan Opera Center alumnus), Sondra Radvanovsky, and Renata Scotto, among others.

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

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, Elizabeth DeShong, Mark S. Doss, Christopher Feigum, Elizabeth Futral, Roger Honeywell, Joseph Kaiser, Maria Kanyova, Quinn Kelsey, Gregory Kunde, Dina Kuznetsova, Gary Lehman, Emily Magee, Susanna Phillips, Matthew Polenzani, Patricia Risley, Erin Wall, and Guang Yang. 

Described as “a compelling figure on the podium” and “one of the hottest young conductors in America” (St. Louis Post-Dispatch), Ward Stare has been resident conductor of the Saint Louis Symphony since 2008.  In 2009, he made his highly successful Carnegie Hall debut with the orchestra. Stare debuted with the Cleveland Orchestra at the Blossom Music Center in 2007. He has led performances with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, and the Moscow Chamber Orchestra, and made his European operatic debut at the Norwegian National Opera. As one of just three conductors chosen to participate in the prestigious Allianz Cultural Foundation’s 2012 International Conductors’ Academy, Stare works intensively with the Philharmonia Orchestra and the London Philharmonic Orchestra, and will conduct the latter in a shared program at Royal Festival Hall in April. Other upcoming engagements include performances with the St. Louis Symphony, Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestre Nationale de Lyon, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, and Stare’s Lyric Opera debut conducting Hansel and Gretel. Stare served as assistant conductor to Sir Andrew Davis for the company’s new production of Lulu in 2008. In his previous career he was appointed principal trombonist for Lyric Opera at the age of 18, and performed as an orchestral musician with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic, among others. As a soloist, he has concertized in the U.S. and Europe.

For photos of the current ensemble please contact Carrie Napolilli Krol: 312-827-5923 or cnapolilli@lyricopera.org 

###