Discover A Star at the Ryan Opera Center Final Auditions on September 15

Sunday, September 15 will be a day with significant meaning for some of today’s most outstanding emerging singers. That afternoon, onstage at the Lyric Opera House, they will participate in the Final Auditions for Lyric’s renowned professional artist-development program, The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center. The Final Auditions could change their lives in the most exciting way imaginableresulting in an invitation to join the 2020/21 Ryan Opera Center Ensemble!

Among the finalists will be current Ensemble members who are auditioning to return for an additional year. The new voices are chosen from nearly 400 applicants heard by Dan Novak (Director), Craig Terry (Music Director), and Julia Faulkner (Director of Vocal Studies), in auditions held around the United States and abroad from April through August.

Reauditioning artists are required to sing only one aria, but the others each have a ten-minute time slot that accommodates two of the selections from their repertoire list. The opening piece is chosen by the singer, and the second is requested by the judges. What is included on a singer’s list, and, above all, what she or he chooses as the first aria to sing, are major decisions for each artist.

Kayleigh Decker performing at the 2018 Ryan Opera Center Final Auditions

Every piece should show that its singer's voice can project satisfactorily in a house the size of Lyric’s, and that the singer conveys artistry that is worthy of a major company. But beyond that, the judges (Novak, Terry, Faulkner, General Director Anthony Freud, Music Director Sir Andrew Davis, and Vice President, Artistic Planning Andreas Melinat) are looking for a special individuality in each auditionee. What do they have to say as artists? Does their performance have a quality that makes the listener pay attention? Do they have genuine career potential? And does the program have something to offer them that will prepare them for that career?

The 2020/21 Ensemble members will begin their residency in May, 2020. They’ll spend the summer studying — including voice lessons and coachings, language classes, and dramatic coaching — in addition to performing. They will also be preparing their role assignments for Lyric’s mainstage season, during which they’ll sing supporting roles and “cover” (understudy) larger ones. The Ryan Opera Center’s contribution to the season is enormous; the upcoming 2019/20 Season will find Ensemble artists singing 22 roles and understudying 44!

Ryan Opera Center members (Mario Rojas, Christopher Kenney, Lauren Decker, and David Weigel) bowing after Lyric's 2018/19 production of La traviata

The Ryan Opera Center experience gives emerging artists a chance to immerse themselves in the life of an international company — the atmosphere, the work ethic, and the day-to-day rigors of putting world-class opera on the stage. The chance to rehearse and perform alongside some of today’s greatest artists, and to work with conductors and directors of world stature, has an impact that cannot be measured in words or dollars. With the experiences they are provided, Ryan Opera Center Ensemble artists leave the program with the tools to make their mark in the world of opera. And for a lucky few who may well be tomorrow’s stars, it all starts on our stage on September 15!

All subscribers and all donors are invited to attend The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center Final Auditions. Invitations will soon be in the mail!

Photo credit: Jaclyn Simpson