March 06, 2019

Ryan Opera Center's Singing Summer

The Ryan Opera Center Ensemble will be hard at work throughout the summer months.

The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center is one of the most prestigious professional artist-development programs in the world. It operates nearly year-round, encompassing a summer period of training and performance activities followed by the Lyric Opera mainstage season from October through March, during which the artists perform and understudy a variety of roles while maintaining as much training as possible.

The 2018/19 Ryan Opera Center Ensemble — 12 singers and a pianist — is comprised of six new artists and seven returning for a second or third year. They have much to do during these summer months. They’ll be given coachings daily with the program’s music staff and Music Director Craig Terry, they’ll work on their languages and acting skills, and there will be voice lessons with Julia Faulkner, Director of Vocal Studies. They also will study their Lyric season roles throughout the summer as well as prepare for auditions for other companies.

There are also performances in several Chicago venues over the summer. The training and performing complement each other nicely, says Ryan Opera Center Director Dan Novak: “The summer is a time to focus on a lot of the training components that are essential to the program. And it’s always helpful to have performances mixed in, since the best way to learn is to put into practice onstage what is covered in the studio.” 

First up was the Scenes Workshop (June 6 and 8, Lyric donor event). The repertoire included a wonderful mix, from Gluck, Mozart, and Rossini, to Verdi, Puccini, Stravinsky, Poulenc, and some contemporary works – Daniel Catán’s Florencia en el Amazonas and, as the program’s finale, the last scene of Sondheim’s Into the Woods

On Thursday, June 21, the Opera Center will participate in Make Music Chicago, the International Music Foundation’s annual summer-solstice program to get music into public places throughout the city. The Ryan Opera Center ensemble’s contribution will be a brief program at St. James Cathedral at Wabash & Huron (5:45 pm, free).

Five weeks later, on Tuesday, July 31, Opera Center artists will return to St. James for their annual appearance in the International Music Foundation’s Rush Hour Concerts series (5:45 pm, free). The opera highlighted this time around will be Puccini’s La bohème, which will open the Lyric season in October.

Finally, on Wednesday, August 15 at 6:30 pm, the Ryan Opera Center will return to the Grant Park Music Festival for a concert performance of Gian Carlo Menotti’s captivating one-act comic opera, The Old Maid and the Thief at Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park (free seating available).

Make sure to catch one of the Ryan Opera Center’s summer performances and hear these exciting future stars!