The Ryan Opera Center Finds Its 2020/21 Ensemble At This Year’s Final Auditions

Lyric Opera of Chicago is committed to training the next generation of great operatic artists through The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center, the company’s world-renowned artist development program.

It’s tremendously exciting to find new emerging talent, and all of us in the Lyric family had the opportunity to share this experience at the Ryan Opera Center’s Final Auditions. Held on Sunday, September 15, at the Lyric Opera House, the Final Auditions featured more than 20 singers auditioning for a spot in the program’s 2020/21 Ensemble.

The new 2020/21 Ensemble members announced at the Final Auditions include:

  • Soprano Maria Novella Malfatti (Lucca, Italy)

  • Soprano Denis Vélez (Puebla, Pue, Mexico)

  • Mezzo-soprano Katherine Beck (Bennington, Vermont)

  • Mezzo-soprano Katherine DeYoung (Traverse City, Michigan)

  • Baritone Leroy Davis (Bronx, New York)

  • Baritone Pawel Trojak (Warsaw, Poland)

These singers will join current Ryan Opera Center soprano Mathilda Edge; mezzo-soprano Kathleen Felty; bass-baritone David Weigel; and bass Anthony Reed, all of whom will return for another year in the acclaimed program. Chris Reynolds is the new pianist who has also been selected for the 2020/21 Ensemble.

Each year, the Ryan Opera Center holds preliminary auditions throughout the spring and summer; a small group of gifted emerging artists, mostly from the postgraduate level, are selected from approximately 400 applicants worldwide and invited to final-round auditions in Chicago each September. For the seventh year in a row, the Final Auditions were attended by an invited audience of Lyric donors and subscribers, who also participated by voting for the Audience Favorite Award. The award and $500 cash prize went to soprano Maria Novella Malfatti.

Lyric welcomes these new artists to the Ensemble and extends a “bravi” to all the fine performers at Final Auditions.

To learn more about the 2020/21 Ryan Opera Center Ensemble, read about the Final Auditions here.

The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center is supported by:

American Airlines Logo

Illinois Arts Council Agency

National Endowment for the arts

Final Audition Sponsors

Generous support for the Ryan Opera Center Final Auditions is provided by:
Lead Sponsor Nix Lauridsen and Virginia Croskery Lauridsen
Sponsor The Cozad Family

American Airlines

Finalists' airfare is generously provided by American Airlines, Official Airline of Lyric Opera of Chicago

Finalists' hospitality provided by Coco Pazzo

Photo credit: Jaclyn Simpson