Lyric Opera of Chicago

Ryan Opera Center Recital Series

For Immediate Release:
October 4, 2013

The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center at Lyric Opera of Chicago
Recital Series resumes on 98.7WFMT Monday, October 7

With the generous support of Julie and Roger Baskes, the Ryan Opera Center starts the second season of  
its exciting monthly recital series, broadcast on 98.7WFMT and  

For the second year in a row, members of The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center at Lyric Opera of Chicago will be featured in a broadcast recital series on radio station 98.7WFMT starting Monday, October 7. The one-hour broadcasts will be heard the first Monday of the month at 6 pm, with a repeat broadcast the following Sunday at 11 pm. The recital series will also be streamed on

Each program will be performed by current members of the Ryan Opera Center, with occasional appearances by alumni and other guest artists, singing various styles of music from a wide range of composers and eras relating to a central theme. They will be accompanied by Ryan Opera Center music director Craig Terry (who also oversees the repertoire selections), pianists Alan Darling and Eric Weimer, and apprentice coach Maureen Zoltek. The program host is Colin Ure.

The roster of current Ryan Opera Center singers is: sopranos Emily Birsan, Tracy Cantin, and Laura Wilde; mezzo-sopranos J’nai Bridges and Julie Anne Miller; tenors Adam Bonanni and John Irvin; baritones Anthony Clark Evans and Will Liverman; and bass-baritone Richard Ollarsaba.

There will be nine unique recitals, each with a different theme. Following the nine monthly broadcasts, three of the recitals will be rebroadcast in July, August, and September to complete the twelve-month series.

The first four recitals to be aired are:


“Operatic Characters in Song”   Mon., Oct. 7, 6 pm    Rebroadcast Sun., Oct. 13, 11 pm
“Centenaries ”       Mon., Nov. 4, 6 pm    Rebroadcast Sun., Nov. 10, 11 pm
“Music for the Festive Season”   Mon., Dec. 2, 6 pm   Rebroadcast Sun., Dec. 8, 11 pm
“Unknown Opera”     Mon., Jan. 6, 6 pm   Rebroadcast Sun., Jan. 12, 11 pm


Details of the remaining recital programs will be announced at a later date. Planned themes include “Love Songs,” “Liederabend,” and “Spring.”

“The Ryan Opera Center Recital Series on WFMT is an incredible opportunity for our ensemble members to be heard both locally and internationally via web streaming in a wide variety of repertoire encompassing opera, song, and musical theater,” says Dan Novak, director of the Ryan Opera Center. “Ours is the only professional-development program in the country to provide such a high-profile showcase for its singers, and we’re deeply indebted to Julie and Roger Baskes for making it possible.”  Julie Baskes is president of the Ryan Opera Center Board and is an executive committee member of Lyric’s Board of Directors.

Colin Ure, host for The Ryan Opera Center Recital Series, is a freelance dramaturg based in Chicago. The producer of the series is Carolyn Paulin, a program host and producer for 98.7WFMT since 2001. Christopher Willis is the music producer. Steve Robinson is the executive producer. 

Each year The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center, the professional artist-development program of Lyric Opera of Chicago, selects gifted singers from some 400 applicants. Soon after arriving at Lyric in May, incoming Ryan Opera Center members begin an intensive full-year residency under the guidance of director Dan Novak, music director Craig Terry, and numerous other opera professionals. Coaching sessions and master classes are augmented by performance and understudy experience in productions mounted by Lyric Opera of Chicago, including all of the operas of Lyric’s regular 2013-14 season. (Until September 2006, the program was known as the Lyric Opera Center for American Artists.)

The Ryan Opera Center Recital Series is generously sponsored by Julie and Roger Baskes.