Lyric Opera of Chicago

Ryan Opera Center Staff Changes

For Immediate Release:
Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Lyric Opera of Chicago Announces Staff Changes for
The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center
following the 2012-13 season  
Gianna Rolandi Retiring as Director, becomingVocal Consultant
Dan Novak to serve as new Director of Ryan Opera Center
Craig Terry named Music Director, Ryan Opera Center

Anthony Freud, general director of Lyric Opera of Chicago, announced today that Gianna Rolandi will retire as director of The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center on April 15, 2013, following the annual “Rising Stars in Concert” performance April 13. Rolandi has held that position since May 2006, and served as director of vocal studies for the Ryan Opera Center for the previous four years, following a distinguished international career as a coloratura soprano.  Rolandi will continue her association with the Ryan Opera Center as vocal consultant, a new position.

“Gianna Rolandi has given the opera world some of its most talented young singers in her years as director of the Ryan Opera Center,” said Freud. “She has guided and nurtured Nicole Cabell, Erin Wall, Susanna Phillips, Amber Wagner, Elizabeth DeShong, Amanda Majeski, Quinn Kelsey, and René Barbera, among others – all accomplished and internationally acclaimed artists. Their lives and careers have flourished thanks in large part to Gianna’s teaching, support, and influence – which is so well informed by her extensive personal experience on the operatic stage.”

In her new role as vocal consultant Rolandi will provide singing instruction to the ensemble members (focusing on technique) and will advise the Ryan Opera Center administration regarding singers who should be considered for inclusion in the program. She will also provide professional guidance to current and former Ryan Opera Center artists as appropriate. “What she loves to do most – and her greatest contribution to the program – is teaching the singers, and that will continue in her new position as vocal consultant.” Freud said. “Her ongoing contribution will be a vital part of the Ryan Opera Center’s operation.”

Freud noted that Rolandi’s decision to scale back her responsibilities after the current season stems from her wish to travel with her husband, Sir Andrew Davis, Lyric’s esteemed music director, when he is conducting elsewhere around the world. “I’m very pleased to report that we’ve appointed two very capable individuals to lead the program. Dan Novak will be director and Craig Terry will be music director.”

Dan Novak has served as manager of the prestigious program since 2000 alongside Rolandi and her predecessor, the late Richard Pearlman. “I can think of no one more qualified than Dan to take on this challenging and important role at Lyric Opera,” said Freud. “He has worked tirelessly with Gianna not only in the day-to-day running of the Ryan Opera Center, but also in identifying and recruiting from around the country the most exceptional candidates for the program.”

Craig Terry is in his eighth season as an assistant conductor at Lyric Opera, and has worked closely with the Ryan Opera Center since 2009. “He will be the Ryan Opera Center’s first music director,” Freud said. Terry coaches the ensemble members on a wide range of operatic, recital, and musical-theater repertoire, and performs piano accompaniment for Ryan Opera Center performances. As a coach he works with singers on interpretation, diction, language, and style.

“The partnership of Craig, Dan, and Gianna will provide our young artists with exceptional artistic leadership,” Freud said.We are confident that the Ryan Opera Center will continue to grow as the top young-artist training program in the United States. This team effort embraces both change and continuity.”

“Working with the singers in the Ryan Opera Center for the past ten years has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my professional life,” said Rolandi. “It’s a great joy to see them grow and develop as well as be able to help them establish themselves as performing artists. Although my role is changing, I am thrilled to continue my association with the program as vocal consultant, alongside Dan and Craig.”

Novak expressed “deep gratitude” to Freud and to the Ryan Opera Center Board of Directors “for this incredible opportunity. These are exciting times for the Ryan Opera Center, full of ‘firsts’ – our first concert with the Civic Orchestra, our first recital broadcast series on WFMT, and now, our first Ryan Opera Center music director. From this position of strength we look forward to a future of even greater accomplishments.”

“What makes Lyric unique is the incredibly positive working environment that is fostered here,” Terry said. “Sir Andrew Davis and Anthony Freud, and Bill Mason before him, have made Lyric a warm, welcoming place in which artists love to work. Gianna Rolandi has done the same with the Ryan Opera Center, and I look forward to continuing her insistence on the highest musical standards while maintaining the atmosphere of joyful music making. I couldn't be more grateful for this opportunity.”

As part of the administrative transition, Terry will join Rolandi and Novak in March for preliminary auditions held in New York for the 2014-15 Ryan Opera Center ensemble (exact dates TBD). His fulltime work with the Ryan Opera Center begins in April just before the start of the 2013-14 program year. During Lyric’s mainstage season, Terry will resume his role as an assistant conductor for the company while also coaching all Ryan Opera Center singers weekly as well as observing them in rehearsals, auditions, and other settings. Novak will continue in a year-round capacity with expanded responsibilities.

As manager of the Ryan Opera Center since 2000, Dan Novak has worked closely with Rolandi and Pearlman to set artistic goals, select resident and guest faculty, devise instructional and performance schedules, manage curriculum implementation, and monitor the progress of ensemble members. He also negotiates contracts; supervises production details for all Opera Center performances; hears and judges program candidates in national preliminary and final auditions; creates department budget and provides financial management; coordinates activities for the Opera Center board; cultivates donors; and more. For more than ten years prior to his appointment, Novak held several administrative positions at Lyric Opera of Chicago. An Illinois native, Novak earned a degree in Music Education with distinction from Northwestern University.

Craig Terry is an assistant conductor at Lyric Opera of Chicago and a coach with the Ryan Opera Center. Previously, he served as assistant conductor at the Metropolitan Opera after joining its Lindemann Young Artist Development Program. In March 2010 he made his conducting debut at Lyric, leading student matinee performances of L’elisir d’amor. In February 2012 he debuted onstage at Lyric as the honkytonk pianist Jake in Show Boat. Terry has established an international career performing with several internationally renowned singers, including Stephanie Blythe, Christine Brewer, Nicole Cabell, and Kate Lindsey at prestigious venues from Lincoln Center and the Kennedy Center to the Tokyo City Opera House and the Gilmore Keyboard Festival. His recent recording with Patricia Racette, “Diva on Detour,” will be released in January. A native of Tullahoma, Tennessee, Terry holds a music education degree from Tennessee Technological University and a master’s of music in piano performance/ accompanying from the Manhattan School of Music.

Prior to her tenure with the Ryan Opera Center, Gianna Rolandi enjoyed great success internationally over the course of her singing career. In 1975 she made her operatic debut with New York City Opera as Olympia/The Tales of Hoffmann and Zerbinetta/Ariadne auf Naxos, both to critical acclaim. Rolandi was a leading coloratura soprano at NYCO for the next 15 years, singing more than 30 roles in operas including I puritani, La traviata, The Daughter of the Regiment, Rigoletto, Lucia di Lammermoor and The Cunning Little Vixen (both telecast live from Lincoln Center), Lakmé, and Giulio Cesare, among others. At the Metropolitan Opera she debuted as Sophie/Der Rosenkavalier in 1979, returning to portray Olympia/The Tales of Hoffmann, Zerbinetta, and the title role of Stravinsky’s Le Rossignol. At Lyric Opera of Chicago she debuted as Dorinda in Handel’s Orlando (1986), and returned as Despina/Così fan tutte (1993-94), a production that marked her retirement from the stage. Rolandi debuted abroad in 1981 at Glyndebourne Festival Opera as Zerbinetta, returning in 1984 for her first performances of Susanna/The Marriage of Figaro and Zdenka/Arabella, to enormous critical acclaim. Other major European engagements included Ginerva/Ariodante and Cleopatra/Giulio Cesare in Geneva, Constanze/Die Entführung aus dem Serail in Lyon and Paris, and Almirena/Rinaldo at the Châtelet in Paris. Rolandi was born in New York City and raised in Spartanburg, South Carolina. She graduated from the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia in 1975. She lives in Chicago with her husband, Sir Andrew Davis, Lyric Opera of Chicago’s music director.

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