March 06, 2019

New Faces at the Ryan Opera Center

The Ryan Opera Center, Lyric's internationally renowned artist-training program, has just welcomed five exceptionally gifted new Ensemble members.  You see the entire Ensemble pictured above. The new artists are delighted to be here, to begin their work at the Ryan Opera Center, and are already gearing up for the 2017/18 season.  We're pleased to introduce you to two of the new members this month and will feature profiles of the other artists in the incoming class in July.

Soprano Whitney Morrison, a Chicago native singing in Lyric’s Rigoletto (debut) and Die Walküre, is an alumna of Oakwood University and the Eastman School of Music. Among her performance credits are appearances at Rochester’s Kodak Hall and Institute of Technology and Donna Anna/Don Giovanni with Chicago’s Floating Opera Company. She particularly cherishes singing in Chicago churches because “I can be so easily in contact with people and connect with them. That pushes me to stretch my abilities, because I know they’re all rooting for me.  To raise the level of what I’m doing – to allow as many people as possible to appreciate what I’ve been given – is an amazing opportunity.”

Collaborative pianist Madeline Slettedahl, from Seattle, won the 2016 Marilyn Horne Song Competition at the Music Academy of the West. She’s worked at Opera in the Heights and Houston Grand Opera, and debuted at Carnegie Hall this year with The Song Continues Institute. She’s an alumna of Rice University and Western Washington University. “I always studied classical piano, and I had a big background in musical theater,” she recalls, “but I thought of those two concepts as separate. Not until my master’s degree did I discover that opera was this perfect combination of every art form I could think of that I love so much.”

Please join us next month for more introductions and news from the Ryan Opera Center.

Photos: Carlos Eric Lopez (Madeline Slettedahl)