For the love of music. For the love of passion. For the love of the moment when we'll all be enjoying performances together again. For the Love of Lyric.

Thank you for joining us for this special concert event. The joyful, eclectic program that we are sharing with you grew from a cabaret-style fundraising event that was originally planned to launch the 2020/21 Season. We are so grateful to the committed members of our Women's Board, who reimagined this intimate event as a virtual public concert that invites us all to celebrate, support, and share our love for Lyric. We want to offer our heartfelt thanks to all of our artists and technicians who worked under stringent health protocols to safely bring you this event. We invite you to learn more about the artists and their selections below, and we hope that your time with us moves you, lifts you up, and reminds you of how wonderful it will be when we can come together in the opera house once again.

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Lift Every Voice and Sing

Soloman Howard, bass
Doug Peck, music director

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Zueignung

Renée Fleming, soprano
Robert Ainsley, pianist

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La rondine

Chi il bel sogno di Doretta

Ailyn Pérez, soprano
Doug Peck, music director

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The Lion King

Shadowland

Heather Headley, vocalist
Doug Peck, music director

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Sing

J'nai Bridges, mezzo-soprano
Chicago Children’s Choir
Doug Peck, music director

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The Last Rose of Summer

Renée Fleming, soprano
Robert Ainsley, pianist

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Finian's Rainbow

Look to the Rainbow

Heather Headley, vocalist
Doug Peck, music director

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Estrellita

Ailyn Pérez, soprano
Doug Peck, music director

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The Wiz

Home

Heather Headley, vocalist
Doug Peck, music director

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Man of La Mancha

The Impossible Dream

Soloman Howard, bass
Doug Peck, music director

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Le nozze di Figaro

Sull'aria... che soave zeffiretto

Renée Fleming, soprano
Julia Bullock, soprano
Doug Peck, music director

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Very Warm for May

All the Things You Are

Renée Fleming, soprano
Robert Ainsley, pianist

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The Tender Land

The Promise of Living

Artists of The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center

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Meet the Artists

Renée Fleming

Soprano

Previously at Lyric: Ten roles since1993|94, most recently Hanna Glawari|The Merry Widow(2015|16); CountessMadeleine/Capriccio(2014|15); eight gala concerts;duo recital with Susan Graham.

Renée Fleming, Lyric’s special projects advisor and formerly its first creative consultant, is one of the most beloved and celebrated singers of our time. Winner of the National Medal of Arts (awarded by President Obama at the White House in 2013) and a four-time Grammy® Award winner, Fleming brought her voice to a vast new audience in 2014 as the first classical artist to sing “The Star-Spangled Banner” at the Super Bowl. She has performed at distinguished occasions worldwide, from Oslo’s Nobel Peace Prize ceremony to the balcony of Buckingham Palace for the Diamond Jubilee Concert for HM Queen Elizabeth II. A groundbreaking distinction came in 2008 when Fleming became the first woman to solo-headline a Metropolitan Opera opening-night gala. Recent achievements include Nettie Fowler/Carousel (Broadway musical debut, Tony Award® nomination); Margaret Johnson/The Light in the Piazza (London, Los Angeles, Chicago); title role/Norma Jeane Baker of Troy (opening of New York City’s newest arts space, The Shed); a virtual solo recital for the Met at Washington’s Dumbarton Oaks; and the latest addition to her extensive discography, a program of songs by Schumann, Brahms, and Mahler.

Heather Headley

Lyric debut

The acclaimed singer-songwriter-actress debuted on Broadway originating the role of Nala/The Lion King in 1997. She later created the title role/Elton John’s Aida, for which she won a Tony Award and Drama Desk Award. Other Broadway credits include First You Dream, Dreamgirls, Il Divo: A Musical Affair—The Greatest Songs of Broadway, and The Color Purple. Headley has also appeared in the City Center Encores production of Do Re Mi and the Actors Fund Benefit concert version of Dreamgirls. In London she starred in The Bodyguard, garnering Olivier Award and What’s On Stage Award nominations. Among other important credits are concerts in Britain and Italy with Andrea Bocelli. Headley has recorded four solo albums, winning a Grammy Award in 2010 for “Audience of One” (Best Contemporary Gospel R&B Album). Among her television appearances are The Kennedy Center Presents: The Mark Twain Prize (PBS) and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, as well as recurring roles on She’s Gotta Have It (Netflix), Chicago Med (NBC), and currently Sweet Magnolias (Netflix).

J’nai Bridges

Previously at Lyric: Nine roles since 2012|13, most recently Carmen|Bel Canto (2015|16, world premiere); Vlasta|The Passenger (2014|15);  Lawrence Brownlee and Friends: The Next Chapter (2020|21).

J’Nai Bridges, a Ryan Opera Center alumna, has recently scored major successes at the Metropolitan Opera (Nefertiti/Philip Glass’s Akhnaten, company premiere), Washington National Opera (Dalila/Samson et Dalila), San Francisco Opera (title role/Carmen, Josefa Segovia/John Adams’s Girls of the Golden West, the latter a world premiere reprised at Dutch National Opera), LA Opera (Akhnaten, Kasturbai/Philip Glass’s Satyagraha), Barcelona’s Gran Teatre del Liceu (Federica/Luisa Miller), the Zurich Opera House (Preziosilla/La forza del destino), Munich’s Bavarian State Opera (Bersi/Andrea Chénier), and Vancouver Opera (Sister Helen Prejean/Dead Man Walking). The mezzo-soprano made a sold-out Carnegie Hall recital debut, and she has appeared in concert with the major orchestras of Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and Washington, among other prestigious ensembles. Bridges is a former recipient of the Sphinx Medal of Excellence Award and the Marian Anderson Vocal Award. A former participant in the Glimmerglass Festival young-artist program, she also represented the United States at the prestigious BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Competition.

Julia Bullock

Soprano
Lyric debut

The American soprano, one of the most acclaimed and sought-after artists of her generation, is currently artist-in-residence at the San Francisco Symphony and at London’s Guildhall School of Music & Drama. She previously served in the same capacity at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. Her artistry has graced numerous world premieres, including creating three roles in Terence Blanchard’s Fire Shut Up in My Bones (Opera Theatre of Saint Louis) and portraying Dame Shirley in John Adams’s Girls of the Golden West (San Francisco Opera, reprised at the Dutch National Opera in Amsterdam). Among Bullock’s other important operatic engagements have been Kitty Oppenheimer/Doctor Atomic (Santa Fe Opera), Anne Trulove/The Rake’s Progress (Aix-en-Provence, Amsterdam), and Purcell’s The Indian  Queen as Doña Luisa(London, Madrid, Perm, Moscow).  She has appeared with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and the leading orchestras of Los Angeles, Milwaukee, Boston, and Berlin. Her highly praised appearances in recital have included performances at the Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, Boston’s Celebrity Series, and the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, among many other distinguished venues.

Soloman Howard

Bass

Previously at Lyric: Lawrence Brownlee and Friends concert, Wurm|Luisa Miller (both 2019|20).

An alumnus of Washington National Opera’s Cafritz Young Artist Program who has rapidly risen to prominence, the American bass recently returned to both WNO (as winner of the Marian Anderson Vocal Award) and the Metropolitan Opera (Sarastro/The Magic Flute). Other important appearances have been Aida (Met, Madrid’s Teatro Real), Don Carlo (LA Opera), La bohème and Don Giovanni (The Santa Fe Opera, Teatro Municipal de Santiago), Das Rheingold (L’Opéra de Montréal, Canadian operatic debut), Semele (The English Concert, international tour), Simon Boccanegra (Bordeaux), The Magic Flute and Macbeth (Glimmerglass Festival), Jeanine Tesori’s The Lion, the Unicorn, and Me (WNO), and the title role/D. J. Sparr’s Approaching Ali (North Carolina Opera, WNO). Among Howard’s successes in concert have been Die Walküre (Miami Music Festival) and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 (Los Angeles Philharmonic). He has also appeared with the National Symphony Orchestra, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, and on international tours with Gustavo Dudamel conducting the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra.

Ailyn Pérez

Soprano

Previously at Lyric: Marguerite|Faust (2017|18)

Winner of the coveted Richard Tucker Award, the acclaimed American soprano appears annually at major opera houses internationally. She has starred as Violetta/La traviata in Zurich, Hamburg, Berlin, Munich, San Francisco, Milan (La Scala), and London (Royal Opera House, where she returned in the title role/Manon and Liù/Turandot—she also toured with the ROH to Japan as Manon). Other highlights include the title role/Thaïs, Mimì and Musetta/La bohème, and Juliet/Romeo and Juliet (Met); Adina/The Elixir of Love (Munich, Berlin, Vienna, Washington); Countess Almaviva/The Marriage of Figaro and Desdemona/Otello (both in Houston); Tatyana Bakst/Jake Heggie’s Great Scott (world premiere, Dallas); Alice Ford/Falstaff (Glyndebourne); Mimì (Bolshoi Theatre); Marguerite/Faust (Hamburg); and Amelia/Simon Boccanegra (La Scala, Berlin, Zurich). Among Pérez’s concert engagements have been appearances with Montreal’s Orchestre Métropolitain, Rome’s Accademia di Santa Cecilia, and gala concerts at Lyric, the Met, and the Royal Opera House.

Doug Peck

Music Director

Previously at Lyric: Chicago Voices Concert (2016|17)

Doug Peck has appeared in concert with many major artists representing multiple musical genres, among them Renée Fleming, Michelle Williams, Lupe Fiasco, Jessie Mueller, John Prine, and Heather Headley. He conducted Carousel at the Glimmerglass Festival and created new Indian-jazz fusion arrangements and orchestrations for the stage version of Disney’s The Jungle Book (Chicago, Boston). Peck has won six Joseph Jefferson Awards for his musical direction. He was musical supervisor for the hit off-Broadway musical Ride The Cyclone(American premiere, Chicago Shakespeare Theater) and is co-creator of the Goodman Theatre’s unique free musical-theater program for talented high school students. His collaborations with director Mary Zimmerman include The Jungle Book, Candide (both at Goodman Theatre, Chicago, and Huntington Theatre, Boston; Candide also at Shakespeare Theatre Company, Washington, D.C.), and Guys and Dolls (Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Los Angeles’s Wallis Annenberg Center). For the Chicago Humanities Festival, Peck has presented Sondheim’s Assassins and Follies in concert, as well as A Night at the Oscars and A Night at the Tonys, plus concert tributes to Prince, David Bowie, Josephine Baker, Eartha Kitt, Nina Simone, and Tina Turner. 

Robert Ainsley

Active as an opera fanatic and factotum since 2001, Rob Ainsley has explored every facet of the art form across the country, and lives to pass on his enthusiasm to others. He is an alumnus of the University of Cambridge, Mannes College of Music, and the Lindemann Young Artist Development Program at the Metropolitan Opera. Since then, he has been Co-founder and Principal Conductor of the Greenwich Music Festival, a guest Chorus Master at English National Opera, Associate Music Director at Portland Opera, Head of Music Staff and Chorus Master at Minnesota Opera and Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, and a faculty member at Westminster Choir College’s CoOPERAtive Program.

He is now the Director of the Washington National Opera’s Cafritz Young Artists and the American Opera Initiative, seeking out and grooming the finest young American singers, composers, and librettists for international careers. His artists have performed on the world’s leading stages, won the Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions, been finalists in Operalia, and performed with him at the 2018 White House State Dinner for the President of France. Most recently, he was featured in recital with world-famous soprano Renée Fleming for the Metropolitan Opera’s “Met Stars Live in Concert” series.

He has conducted his own realizations of seventeenth-century operas, collaborated on a string of world premieres, raved about art song in recital series of his own creation, and lectured on everything from Adams to Zemlinsky. Through it all, he has inspired hundreds of young artists and thousands of audience members to share his passion, and prides himself on the friendships he has formed along the way. 

The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center Ensemble

Katherine Beck

Mezzo-Soprano
Lyric debut

Originally from Bennington, Vermont, first-year mezzo-soprano Katherine Beck was most recently heard onstage at the Met, where she competed as a semi-finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions in February 2020. That same week, she was a winner of a prestigious George London Foundation award. In 2019, Beck portrayed Karolka/Jenůfa and covered Dorabella/Così fan tutte at The Santa Fe Opera. She is a former artist of the Marion Roose Pullin Arizona Opera Studio, where she was heard as Mary Johnson/Fellow Travelers, Cherubino/The Marriage of Figaro, Catherine Wright/Shining Brow, Madeleine Audebert/Silent Night, and Flora/La traviata. At Opera Colorado in 2018, Beck sang Lisette/Gerald Cohen’s Steal a Pencil for Me (world premiere). The mezzo has numerous recital and chamber-music credits, including two summers as a fellow of the Tanglewood Music Center.

Katherine Beck is sponsored by Sasha Gerritson and Eugene Jarvis and the Thierer Family Foundation.

Martin Luther Clark

Tenor

Previously at Lyric: Lawrence Brownlee and Friends: The Next Chapter (2020|21)

First-year Ryan Opera Center tenor Martin Luther Clark graduated with a master’s degree in opera from the Curtis Institute of Music, where he appeared with the Russian Opera Workshop in concert performances of both Vaudemont/Iolanta and King Charles/The Maid of Orleans during the 2019 summer season. With Curtis Opera Theatre, Clark sang the roles of First Sailor/Dido and Aeneas, Tobias Ragg/Sweeney Todd, and Don Ottavio/Don Giovanni. He has also been heard with the Lyric Opera of Kansas City as a Resident Artist, and in numerous roles and Galas with University of North Texas Opera, The Dallas Opera, Charlottesville Opera, Opera in Concert, Opera North, and Wolf Trap Opera.

Martin Luther Clark is sponsored by the Robert and Isabelle Bass Foundation, Inc., Sally and Michael Feder, and Richard O. Ryan.

Leroy Davis

Baritone

Previously at Lyric: Lawrence Brownlee and Friends: The Next Chapter (2020|21)

Baritone Leroy Davis is a first-year member of the Ryan Opera Center. Recent highlights include debuts at the Lincoln Center Theater as George Armstrong in the world premiere of Ricky Ian Gordon and Lynn Nottage’s Intimate Apparel; Opera Theatre of Saint Louis as Pastor, Layabout Man, James, Kaboom/Terence Blanchard and Kasi Lemmon’s Fire Shut Up in My Bones (world premiere) as a Gerdine Young Artist; the Phoenicia Festival as Belcore/The Elixir of Love; Boston Opera Collaborative as Leporello/Don Giovanni; and Odyssey Opera as Ernesto Malcom/Giovanni Pacini’s Maria, Regina d'Inghilterra. Davis was also seen as the Forester/The Cunning Little Vixen, Hannah Before/Laura Kaminsky’s As One, Joe St. George/Tobias Picker’s Dolores Claiborne, and Pablo Picasso/Tom Cipullo’s After Life at Boston University’s Opera Institute. The baritone previously participated in the artist programs of Chautauqua Opera and Milwaukee’s Florentine Opera.

Leroy Davis is sponsored by the Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation.

Katherine DeYoung

Mezzo-Soprano

Lyric debut

First-year Ryan Opera Center mezzo-soprano Katherine DeYoung, originally from Traverse City, Michigan, recently finished her second year as a member of the Michigan Opera Theatre Studio program. DeYoung is a 2019 Award Winner from The William Matheus Sullivan Musical Foundation. That same year, she was a participant in the Neue Stimmen Competition and was a finalist and Online Viewers’ Choice Award winner in Houston Grand Opera's 31st Eleanor McCollum Competition. In 2020, she was a national semi-finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. In the 2018/19 season with Michigan Opera Theatre, DeYoung portrayed the Sandman/Hänsel und Gretel, the Old Lady/Candide, and the Mother/Amahl and the Night Visitors. She also covered Olga/Eugene Onegin and performed Mae and covered Ma Joad/The Grapes of Wrath. A former Apprentice Singer with The Santa Fe Opera, DeYoung holds a master’s degree in voice performance from the University of Houston.

Katherine DeYoung is sponsored by lead sponsors Dr. and Mrs. Mark F. Kozloff and cosponsors Cynthia Vahlkamp and Robert Kenyon.

Mathilda Edge

Soprano
Previously at Lyric:
Berta|The Barber of Seville (2019|20)

Second-year soprano Mathilda Edge, originally from Chandlerville, Illinois, is an alumna of Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music, where she earned her master’s degree in Vocal Performance. She is the recipient of a 2019 Sara Tucker Study Grant from the Richard Tucker Music Foundation. She has also won or placed in the National Association of Teachers of Singing Artist Award Competition; Indiana District and Central Region Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions; Houston Grand Opera’s Eleanor McCollum Competition; and Opera Columbus’ Cooper-Bing Competition. Edge has performed as Fiordiligi/Così fan tutte, First Lady/Die Zauberflöte, Sandman/Hänsel und Gretel, Romilda/Xerxes, The Milliner/Der Rosenkavalier, and Cio Cio San/Madama Butterfly. She was a former member of the Merola Opera Program, and was a Santa Fe Opera Apprentice Artist in 2018, where she covered the title role in Ariadne auf Naxos.

Mathilda Edge is sponsored by Maurice J. and Patricia Frank.

Kathleen Felty

Mezzo-Soprano

Previously at Lyric: Laura|Luisa Miller (2019|20)

Mezzo-soprano Kathleen Felty, from Lubbock, Texas, is a second-year member of the Ryan Opera Center. She holds Bachelor Degrees in Music and Business Administration from Texas Tech University and a Master of Music from the A.J. Fletcher Opera Institute at the North Carolina School of the Arts. Her Fletcher performances include Charlotte/Werther, Angelina/La Cenerentola, Unulfo/Rodelinda, Miss Jessel/Turn of the Screw, Geneviève/Impressions de Pelléas, Dinah/Trouble in Tahiti, Komponist/Ariadne auf Naxos, and Paula/Florencia en el Amazonas. Felty is a former apprentice artist of The Santa Fe Opera, where she received the Katharine Mayer Award and covered Komponist/Ariadne auf Naxos. She also participated in Ravinia’s Steans Music Institute Program for Singers. Felty is a four-time District Winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, a winner of the Charlotte Opera Guild Vocal Competition (2018), and the Heafner Williams Vocal Competition (2019).

Kathleen Felty is sponsored by Heidi Heutel Bohn, Lawrence O. Corry, and Robert C. Marks.

Lunga Eric Hallam

Tenor

Previously at Lyric: Lawrence Brownlee and Friends: The Next Chapter (2020|21)

First-year Ryan Opera Center tenor Lunga Eric Hallam, born and raised in Khayelitsha, South Africa, founded a nonprofit organization called Phenomenal Opera Voices the same year he enrolled at the University of Cape Town College of Music where he received his diploma and postgraduate (with honors) degrees in music training . Recent engagements as a Young Artist at Cape Town Opera include Tebaldo/I Capuleti e i Montecchi, Edgardo/Lucia di Lammermoor, and Roberto/Maria Stuarda, as well as Ramiro/Cinderella at Cape Town Conservatory. Hallam competed as a semifinalist in the 2019 Neue Stimmen International Singing Competition and the 2019 Voice of South Africa International Singing Competition.

Lunga Eric Hallam is sponsored by Richard W. Shepro and Lindsay E. Roberts and Ms. Gay K. Stanek.

Maria Novella Malfatti

Soprano

Lyric debut

Italian soprano Maria Novella Malfatti, a first-year Ryan Opera Center member, debuted in 2020 at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam as Azema/Semiramide. She sang at Amsterdam’s Dutch National Opera in Kurt Weill’s Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny under the baton of Markus Stenz. During the 2018/19 season, she performed at the Tiroler Festspiele Erl in Austria as Musetta/La bohème and as the soprano soloist in Bach’s St. Matthew Passion; and in Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny at the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence. Previous performances in Erl include Tamiri/Il re pastore, Cleone/Ermione, the Shepherd/Tannhäuser, and soprano soloist in Bach’s Christmas Oratorio. Malfatti was a finalist in the 52nd international vocal competition of s'Hertogenbosch. She graduated in Master Classical Voice at the Conservatorium in Amsterdam, after completing her studies in voice and violin at the Conservatorio L. Boccherini in Lucca.

Maria Novella Malfatti is sponsored by two Anonymous Donors.

Anthony Reed

Bass

Previously at Lyric: Second Prison Guard|Dead Man Walking, Commissioner|Madama Butterfly, and Narumov|The Queen of Spades (all 2019|20).

Bass Anthony Reed is a second-year member of the Ryan Opera Center and an alumnus of the Curtis Institute of Music and the Merola Opera Program. Reed was previously seen at Wolf Trap Opera as Frère Laurent/Roméo et Juliette. A former Adler Fellow with San Francisco Opera, his highlights on stage there include King of Egypt/Aida, Speaker/Die Zauberflöte, and Dottore Grenvil/La traviata. Reed recently sang Don Basilio/The Barber of Seville with Annapolis Opera and Haydn’s Creation with North Carolina Master Chorale. Additionally, his repertory encompasses such major roles as Sarastro/Die Zauberflöte and Don Magnifico/La Cenerentola, among others. In October 2020, Reed will appear in a virtual concert with Collaborative Arts Institute of Chicago as a part of their Collaborative Works Festival.

Anthony Reed is sponsored by J. Thomas Hurvis.

Chris Reynolds

Pianist

Previously at Lyric: Lawrence Brownlee and Friends: The Next Chapter (2020|21)

First-year Ryan Opera Center pianist Chris Reynolds is currently a doctoral candidate at The Juilliard School. He recently concluded his run as performance pianist for Ricky Ian Gordon and Lynn Nottage’s chamber opera Intimate Apparel at the Lincoln Center Theater. Other recent performance venues include Bayreuth, Carnegie Hall, Tanglewood, WQXR, the Kyoto Summer Music Festival, and National Sawdust. A two-time winner of the Juilliard Vocal Arts Honors Recital Auditions, he has been a fellow at SongFest and Aspen, as well as a Schwab Rising Star at Caramoor as part of the New York Festival of Song Emerging Artist Series.  Reynolds has worked at the Metropolitan Opera and Lincoln Center Theater as an opera coach/répétiteur, and he holds Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from The Juilliard School.

Chris Reynolds is sponsored by Nancy Dehmlow, Loretta N. Julian, and Philip G. Lumpkin.

Ricardo José Rivera

Baritone

Previously at Lyric: 3 roles since 2018|19, most recently Yamadori/Madama Butterfly (2019|20).

Puerto Rican baritone Ricardo José Rivera, a third-year member of the Ryan Opera Center, has portrayed Guglielmo/Così fan tutte at the International Vocal Academy of Rome; sung several recitals with the American Masters of Opera Academy in Moscow; and performed in scene and concert presentations as a participant in Tel-Aviv’s International Vocal Arts Institute. He has had repeat engagements at the Performing Arts Center of San Juan and at the University of Puerto Rico Theater, including Don Pasquale, Gianni Schicchi, and Don Quixote/Ravel’s Master Peter’s Puppet Show (part of the 2016 Casals Festival). Rivera recently earned his master’s degree at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music. In 2018/19, Rivera sang Schaunard/La bohème and Baron Douphol/La traviata and appeared in concert with the Collaborative Arts Institute of Chicago (Mahler’s Des Knaben Wunderhorn).

Ricardo José Rivera is sponsored by the Mrs. Myung S. Chung Family, Drs. David H. Whitney and Juliana Chyu, and Drs. Joan and Russ Zajtchuk.

Denis Vélez

Soprano

Lyric debut

First-year Ryan Opera Center soprano Denis Vélez, from Puebla, Mexico, holds a bachelor’s degree in operatic singing from Mexico’s Superior School of Music. She was a national winner of the 2020 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. In Mexico’s most important platform for rising talent, the National Singing Contest Carlo Morelli, her performance earned her First Prize, the French Opera Award and the Francisco Araiza Special Award, resulting in a scholarship for a week of master classes with Mr. Araiza. Her repertoire includes the Countess and Susanna/The Marriage of Figaro, Bastienne/Bastien und Bastienne, Fiordiligi/Così fan tutte, Adina/The Elixir of Love, and Mimì/La bohème. For the past two years, Vélez has been an active member of Mexico’s National Opera Chorus at Mexico City’s Palacio de Bellas Artes.

Denis Vélez is sponsored by The C.G. Pinnell Family.

David Weigel

Bass-Baritone

Previously at Lyric: 6 roles since 2018|19, most recently First Prison Guard |Dead Man Walking, the Bonze|Madama Butterfly, and Sourin|The Queen of Spades (all in 2019|20).

Third-year bass-baritone David Weigel, a native of Asheville, North Carolina, is an alumnus of Furman University (Bachelor of Music), the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (Master of Music), the A.J. Fletcher Opera Institute at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (Professional Artist Certificate), and the University of Michigan (Doctor of Musical Arts). He was a member of San Francisco Opera’s Merola Opera Program in 2013 and in 2017. He has performed the title role, Leporello, and Masetto/Don Giovanni, Colline/La bohème, Don Basilio and Fiorello/The Barber of Seville, Figaro/Le nozze di Figaro, Bottom/A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Friar Laurence/Romeo and Juliet, Spencer Coyle/Owen Wingrave, the Bonze and Prince Yamadori/Madama Butterfly, the Speaker/The Magic Flute, Moralès/Carmen, Rambaldo/La rondine, Frank/Die Fledermaus, and Melchior/Amahl and the Night Visitors. In concert the bass-baritone has sung Bach’s Mass in B Minor, Handel’s Messiah, the Requiems of Mozart, Verdi, and Fauré, Brahms’s German Requiem, Debussy’s L’enfant prodigue, and Vaughan Williams’s Dona Nobis Pacem. Most recently he performed Figaro/Le nozze di Figaro with Aspen Music Festival. In Lyric Opera’s 2018/19 season he sang The Voice of Neptune/Idomeneo, First Minister/Cendrillon, and Dr. Grenvil/La traviata.

David Weigel is sponsored by Lois B. Siegel, Michael and Salme Harju Steinberg, and Mrs. J.W. Van Gorkom.

Chicago Children’s Choir

Previously at Lyric: 13 productions since 2000|01, most recently The Queen of Spades, Dead Man Walking (both 2019/20).

Chicago Children’s Choir (Josephine Lee, president and artistic director) is the nation’s preeminent youth choral organization, serving 5,200 students across the city of Chicago. Founded in Hyde Park in direct response to the Civil Rights Movement in 1956, CCC has grown from one choir into a vast network of in-school and after-school programs driven by one mission: to inspire and change lives through music.CCC has impacted the lives of more than 50,000 diverse youth throughout its 62-year history. Since its founding, CCC has focused on building programs that reflect the racial and economic diversity of Chicago. Eighty percent of youth served are from low-moderate income homes, with over 4,000 students annually participating completely free of charge. All singers in CCC programs receive some level of subsidy. High school seniors enrolled in CCC have a 100% graduation and college acceptance rate, becoming global ambassadors who carry on CCC’s core values in a wide array of professional fields.

Josephine Lee

Children’s Chorus Master

Previously at Lyric: 13 productions since 2000|01, most recently The Queen of Spades, Dead Man Walking (both 2019|20); La bohème (2018|19).

The president and artistic director of Chicago Children’s Choir has revolutionized youth choral music, encompassing cutting-edge performances of diverse repertoire; ongoing partnerships with Lyric, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and Ravinia; and extensive national and international tours. Among Lee’s recent projects have been two world premieres (Long Way Home with the Q Brothers Collective, and Sita Ram with David Kersnar of Lookingglass Theatre) and a collaboration with Chance the Rapper (Coloring Book). In 2019, Lee made her conducting debut with members of the National Philharmonic at Strathmore. In 2015, Lee founded a new young-people’s chorus, Vocality, heard with the CSO at Ravinia (Porgy and Bess, Bernstein’s Mass). Current projects include a new theatrical work by David Kersnar, J. Nicole Brooks, and CCC composer-in-residence Mitchell Owens III. An experienced singer herself, Lee appeared in the critically praised 2018 world premiere of Ted Hearne’s Place at the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Next Wave Festival.

Event sponsors

Impresario 

 





Maestro
Rebecca and Lester Knight
Karen Z. Gray-Krehbiel and John H. Krehbiel, Jr.
Sylvia Neil and Daniel Fischel
Patrick G. and Shirley Welsh Ryan
Liz Stiffel

Coloratura
Abbott
CNA
Mrs. John V. Crowe
Cate and Jim Denny

The Crown Family
Ethel and William Gofen
Harris Family Foundation/Caryn and King Harris/Pam Friend Szokol
Caroline and Charlie Huebner
Mr. and Mrs. Fred A. Krehbiel
Silvia Beltrametti Krehbiel and Jay Krehbiel
Jim and Kay Mabie
Mimi and Todd Mitchell
H. Gael Neeson

John D. and Alexandra C. Nichols
Mr. and Mrs. William A. Osborn
Nancy S. Searle
Dr. Cynthia V. Stauffacher
Donna Van Eekeren Foundation