Ryan Opera Center Final Auditions

September 17. 2023

Upcoming Dates

September 17. 2023

Ryan Opera Center Final Auditions

Join us to watch more than 20 finalists representing the world’s finest emerging artists audition for a spot in the Ryan Opera Center’s 2024/25 Ensemble. This is a unique opportunity to hear opera’s future stars and participate by voting for the Audience Favorite Award.

Master of Ceremonies: LaRob K. Rafael, WFMT host
Guest Ryan Opera Center Alumna Performer: Kayleigh Decker, mezzo-soprano

  • Location: The Lyric Opera House

Ryan Opera Center Final Auditions are generously made possible by Lead Sponsor Philip G. Lumpkin.

Finalists' airfares are generously provided by American Airlines, Official Airline of Lyric Opera of Chicago.


*Current Ensemble member auditioning for a return year. 

Guest Ryan Opera Center Alumna Performer



12:00 pm Welcome by Master of Ceremonies, LaRob K. Rafael


12:10 pm Heeseung Chae
12:20 pm Sankara Harouna
12:30 pm Bernardo Medeiros
12:40 pm Ben Reisinger
12:50 pm Ian Rucker*


12:55 pm Ossian Huskinson
1:05 pm Younggwang Park
1:15 pm Finn Sagal
1:25 pm Christopher Humbert, Jr.*

1:30 pm - 1:35 pm Pause


1:35 pm Juliette Chauvet
1:45 pm Adia Evans
1:55 pm So ry Kim
2:05 pm Leila Kirves
2:15 pm Gemma Nha
2:25 pm Emily Richter
2:35 pm Amanda Sheriff

2:45 pm - 3:45 pm Intermission

3:45 pm Welcome by Master of Ceremonies, LaRob K. Rafael


3:55 pm Simona Genga
4:05 pm Chloé Kim
4:15 pm Emma Nossem
4:25 pm Lucy Baker* 
4:30 pm Sophia Maekawa*


4:35 pm Patrick Bessenbacher
4:45 pm Brad Bickhardt
4:55 pm Daniel Espinal
5:05 pm Travon D. Walker*

5:10 pm - 5:40 pm Audience Break

5:40 pm - 6:10 pm Ryan Opera Center alumna performance and Q&A, Kayleigh Decker

6:10 pm Announcement of 2024/25 Ensemble and Audience Favorite Award

*Current Ensemble member auditioning for a return year.


Anthony Freud

General Director, President & CEO
The Women’s Board Endowed Chair


Enrique Mazzola

Music Director
John D. and Alexandra C. Nichols Endowed Chair


Matthew Ozawa

Chief Artistic Administration Officer


Andreas Melinat

Vice President, Artistic Planning


Cory Lippiello

Director of Artistic Programs


Michael Black

Chorus Director & Head of Music


Dan Novak

Vice President and Director, Ryan Opera Center
The Ryan Opera Center Board Endowed Chair


Craig Terry

Music Director, Ryan Opera Center
The Jannotta Family Endowed Chair


Julia Faulkner

Director of Vocal Studies, Ryan Opera Center

About the Ryan Opera Center

About the Ryan Opera Center

The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center is Lyric's preeminent artist-development program that nurtures the talents of some of the most promising operatic artists of each generation. The program's Ensemble members earn their coveted spot by successfully auditioning among more than 500 artists worldwide. Its alumni are among the dominant names in opera today. Donor generosity ensures continued unparalleled training, performance experience, and professional readiness of Ensemble members. This highly competitive program, established in 1974, is honored to enjoy the support of acclaimed soprano Renée Fleming as Advisor at Large, along with full-time staff Director Dan Novak, Music Director Craig Terry, and Director of Vocal Studies Julia Faulkner.

The road to the Ryan Opera Center

Founded in 1974, The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center is celebrated as one of the world's premier artist-development programs.

Every year some 500 singers audition for a chance to be one of 11-12 members of each season's Ensemble. These rising stars of tomorrow are in residence year-round for a comprehensive curriculum that includes:

  • Distinguished instruction in voice, language, acting and movement

  • Master classes and individual coachings with opera's leading artists, including Ryan Opera Center Advisor at Large Renée Fleming and Lyric's Music Director Enrique Mazzola

  • Performance opportunities throughout Chicagoland and on Lyric's mainstage alongside today's greatest opera singers

Header Photo: The 2021 Ryan Opera Center Final Auditions