CHICAGO (10/11/2021)—The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center, the professional artist-development program at Lyric Opera of Chicago, announces the 12 singers who have been selected for its 2022/23 Ensemble at Final Auditions held on October 7 in the Ardis Krainik Theatre. Sopranos Kathryn Henry and Lindsey Reynolds, tenors Ryan Capozzo and Alejandro Luévanos, baritones Laureano Quant and Ian Rucker, and basses Ron Dukes and William Clay Thompson will join four returning members of the Ensemble: soprano Denis Vélez, mezzo-soprano Katherine DeYoung, and tenors Martin Luther Clark and Lunga Eric Hallam.
Starting last spring, more than 600 singers applied for consideration with video recordings. After a thorough review, more than 30 were invited to Chicago for live auditions, resulting in invitations to a small group to sing on October 7. The Final Auditions were attended by an invited audience of more than 400 Lyric subscribers and donors, who also participated in voting for the Audience Favorite award. The award and $500 cash prize went to tenor Alejandro Luévanos.
Roger Pines served as master of ceremonies for the Final Auditions, and the audience was treated to a performance by soprano Ann Toomey, a Ryan Opera Center alumna who, to great acclaim, stepped in at the last minute as Musetta in Lyric's 2018/19 production of La Bohème. The panel of judges drew from Lyric's leadership, including Anthony Freud, General Director, President & CEO; Music Director Enrique Mazzola; Vice President, Artistic Planning Andreas Melinat; Vice President and Director of the Ryan Opera Center Dan Novak; Ryan Opera Center Music Director Craig Terry; and Ryan Opera Center Director of Vocal Studies Julia Faulkner. The panel also included Lyric's casting consultant Evamaria Wieser. Piano accompaniment for the Final Auditions was provided by Michael Baitzer, Laurann Gilley, and current Ensemble member Chris Reynolds.
The 2022/23 Ensemble members begin their tenure in Spring 2022 and will receive advanced instruction in numerous aspects of operatic performance, including voice lessons and language coachings, movement and acting training, and master classes with some of opera's most renowned artists. They will also participate in Lyric's mainstage season, performing and understudying a variety of roles, in addition to performing at Ryan Opera Center concerts and recitals throughout the Chicago community.
Current Ryan Opera Center Ensemble members who will depart at the conclusion of the 2021/22 season are sopranos Mathilda Edge and Maria Novella Malfatti, mezzo-sopranos Katherine Beck and Kathleen Felty, baritone Leroy Davis, and basses Rivers Hawkins and Anthony Reed.
Generous support for the Final Auditions was provided by Lead Sponsor Philip G. Lumpkin. Finalists' airfares were generously provided by Lyric Opera of Chicago's Official Airline, American Airlines.
2022/23 Ensemble Singers of the Ryan Opera Center
Kathryn Henry (Sheboygan, Wisconsin)
Lindsey Reynolds (New Orleans, Louisiana)
Denis Vélez (Puebla, Pue, México)
Katherine DeYoung (Traverse City, Michigan)
Ryan Capozzo (Huntington, New York)
Martin Luther Clark (Marshall, Texas)
Lunga Eric Hallam (Khayelitsha, South Africa)
Alejandro Luévanos (Durango, México)
Laureano Quant (Barranquilla, Colombia)
Ian Rucker (Oshkosh, Wisconsin)
Ron Dukes (Indianapolis, Indiana)
William Clay Thompson (Lexington, Kentucky)