April 07, 2020

Ryan Opera Center From Home: Madeline Slettedahl

May 6, 2020

For the past three years Madeline Slettedahl was the only pianist Ensemble member of The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center. She has served on Lyric's music staff for The Pearl Fishers (2017/18), Siegfried (2018/19), and The Barber of Seville (2019/20). Originally from Seattle, Washington, Madeline is an alumna of Rice University, where she received her master's degree in piano, as well as the Andre Watts Scholarship and Michael P. Hammond Preparatory Program Olshan Foundation Fellowship Award. Madeline returns to Lyric's music staff as an alumna for Cavalleria Rusticana & Pagliacci in fall 2020.

Keep reading to see how Madeline continued to work from home while following Chicago's stay at home order.

Photo: Simon Pauly

While our Lyric family is working from home instead of in our beautiful Lyric Opera House, the Ryan Opera Center Ensemble also adapted to continue our training at home. I was lucky enough to stay with a close friend's family, who have a beautiful piano. That said, with four musicians in the house, there was definitely some sharing and navigating of space and piano use amongst us all!


Madeline's "work from home" location: the home of a close friend and fellow musician.


Ryan Opera Center lessons and coachings certainly had both their benefits and drawbacks in the virtual world. I was tasked with making piano recordings for the Ensemble to rehearse with. It was an interesting experience because I really had to imagine the way they might sing it, the breaths they might take, the nuance of rubato, and language.

It required a lot of imagination on both ends, and also a lot of compromise.


I don't think I've ever had time to practice so many languages and topics at one time! It's been very helpful to incorporate a routine while rehearsing at home, and to adhere to a schedule in order to maintain some sense of normalcy. 

-Madeline Slettedahl

Ryan Opera Center From Home: "Liebestod"

Pianist Madeline Slettedahl performs the Liszt transcription of "Liebestod" from Tristan und Isolde (Wagner)

Header image: Todd Rosenberg