Thank you for joining us for Lawrence Brownlee and Friends: The Next Chapter! We are excited to showcase the depth and breadth of Black artistry as Lawrence Brownlee leads a cast of alumni and current Ensemble members from the Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center. We invite you to explore each piece that has been personally chosen by these gifted artists through the program notes below. We are immensely grateful to all of our performers for the extraordinary commitment that went into the safe planning and execution of this event. We hope you enjoy this special program, and we thank you for being with us!

La fille du régiment

"Ah, mes amis"

Lawrence Brownlee, tenor
Craig Terry, piano

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Samson et Dalila

"Printemps qui commence"

J'Nai Bridges, mezzo-soprano
Craig Terry, piano

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Die Zauberflöte

"Ein Mädchen oder Weibchen"

Will Liverman, baritone
Members of the Lyric Opera Orchestra

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The Consul

"To This We've Come"

Whitney Morrison, soprano
Craig Terry, piano

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Five Songs of Laurence Hope

"Worth While"
"Till I Wake"

Leroy Davis, baritone
Chris Reynolds, piano

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"Buya"

Lunga Eric Hallam, tenor
Chris Reynolds, piano

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Cinco Canciones Negras, No. 4

"Canción de cuna para dormir a un negrito"

J'Nai Bridges, mezzo-soprano
Craig Terry, piano

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Two Black Churches: Ballad of Birmingham / The Rain

Will Liverman, baritone
Craig Terry, piano

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"a just soliloquy"

Martin Luther Clark, tenor
Chris Reynolds, piano

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"Lulu's Back In Town"

Will Liverman, baritone
Craig Terry, piano

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"Ride On, King Jesus"

J'Nai Bridges, mezzo-soprano
Craig Terry, piano

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"All Night, All Day"
"Come By Here, Good Lord"

Lawrence Brownlee, tenor
Craig Terry, piano

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"His Eye Is On The Sparrow"
"My Tribute"

Whitney Morrison, soprano
Craig Terry, piano

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"Every Time I Feel The Spirit"

Lawrence Brownlee, tenor
Craig Terry, piano
Ensemble

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Meet the Artists

Lawrence Brownlee

Host and Artistic Advisor

Renowned internationally for formidable bel canto roles and for social activism, Lawrence Brownlee won “Male Singer of the Year” awards in 2017 from both the International Opera Awards and Bachtrack. The celebrated American tenor has recently dazzled audiences at Lyric as Count Almaviviva/The Barber of Seville, in Amsterdam as Don Ramiro/La Cenerentola, and in Houston as Fernand/La favorite. He is scheduled to reprise Count Almaviva (San Francisco, New York), Arturo Talbo/I puritani (Zurich) and to portray Edgardo/Lucia di Lammermoor (Tokyo). Brownlee has starred in bel canto repertoire at the Metropolitan Opera (I puritani, La Cenerentola, The Barber of Seville, Rinaldo, La donna del lago), in Zurich (Le Comte Ory), Paris (Don Pasquale), and Munich (Semiramide), among others. Additionally, he has performed globally on prestigious stages including the Teatro alla Scala, Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Gran Teatre del Liceu, and Wiener Staatsoper. Brownlee has sung with major orchestras including those of Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston, Cleveland, New York, Berlin, Rome, and Munich, and has been heard at renowned recital venues such as Carnegie Hall, Wigmore Hall, and The Kennedy Center. A passionate supporter and champion of diversity initiatives, he premiered a new song cycle, Cycles of My Being by composer Tyshawn Sorey and lyricist Terrance Hayes, in Philadelphia, which he repeated in Chicago and at Carnegie Hall, among others. Brownlee also performed Giving Voices, a one-night concert at Houston Grand Opera that included singers such as J’Nai Bridges and celebrated the city’s diversity. He serves as artistic advisor at Opera Philadelphia, where he created Charlie/Charlie Parker’s YARDBIRD by Daniel Schnyder and Brigitte A. Wimberly. He later reprised the role at New York’s Apollo Theater, London’s English National Opera, and Lyric in a production by Lyric Unlimited, for which he serves as an Ambassador.

Whitney Morrison

Soprano

The soprano, a Chicago native and a Ryan Opera Center alumna, triumphed as Sister Rose in the Lyric premiere of Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking (2019/20), and previously portrayed supporting roles in Die Walküre, Elektra, Idomeneo, and Rigoletto at Lyric. Additional credits include the Harris Theater’s “Beyond the Aria” series; Miss Pinkerton/The Old Maid and the Thief at the Grant Park Music Festival; an appearance at the Rochester Institute of Technology’s celebration of Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy; and Donna Anna/Don Giovanni with Chicago’s Floating Opera Company. A graduate of Alabama’s Oakwood University, Morrison earned her Master of Music degree at the Eastman School of Music and has also studied at Germany’s Neil Semer Vocal Institute and Italy’s Georg Solti Accademia di Bel Canto. Competition successes include top prizes in the National Classical Singer University Competition, the R. Nathaniel Dett Club NANM Scholarship Competition, and the Musicians Club of Women Competition. 

J'Nai Bridges

Mezzo-soprano

A Ryan Opera Center alumna, mezzo-soprano J’Nai Bridges has recently performed the leading roles of Nefertiti/Akhnaten (the Metropolitan Opera), Dalila/Samson et Dalila (Washington National Opera), and Federica/Luisa Miller (Gran Teatre del Liceu). She also recently sang with Gustavo Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic at “Global Goal: Unite for Our Future,” a globally televised and streamed concert; was featured in the Grant Park Music Festival’s 2020 virtual season; and collaborated with Los Angeles Opera in leading a Zoom panel discussion on racial inequality in opera, which included colleagues Lawrence Brownlee, Julia Bullock, Morris Robinson, Karen Slack, and Russell Thomas. Among Bridges’s scheduled prestigious engagements later this season are the title role/Carmen at the Canadian Opera Company and Giovanna Seymour/Anna Bolena at Amsterdam’s De Nationale Opera. An accomplished concert soloist, she has been featured in Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 “Resurrection” with the Louisville Orchestra, in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the Philadelphia Orchestra, and the “Farewell to Christoph Eschenbach” concert with the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center. She created the pivotal role of Carmen in the 2015/16 world premiere of Bel Canto by Jimmy López and Nilo Cruz at Lyric (2017 PBS telecast), and has been acclaimed in the title role/The Rape of Lucretia at Wolf Trap Opera, Sister Helen Prejean/Dead Man Walking at Vancouver Opera, and Bersi/Andrea Chénier, at, among others, San Francisco Opera and Bayerische Staatsoper. 

Will Liverman

Baritone

The American baritone and Ryan Opera Center alumnus earned critical acclaim as Dizzy Gillespie/Charlie Parker’s YARDBIRD (world premiere, Opera Philadelphia), a role he reprised at Lyric, London’s English National Opera, Madison Opera, and at the Apollo Theater in Harlem. He has also portrayed Malcolm Fleet/Marnie (Metropolitan Opera), Figaro/The Barber of Seville (Seattle Opera, Kentucky Opera, Virginia Opera), and Papageno/The Magic Flute (Milwaukee’s Florentine Opera and Opera Colorado). Recent performance highlights include Horehamb/Akhnaten and a reprisal of Papageno (both at the Metropolitan Opera), Silvio/Pagliacci (Opera Colorado), and Schaunard/La bohème (Opera Philadelphia, Santa Fe Opera, Dallas Opera), as well as a live-streamed recital with Valhalla Media at Chicago’s Studebaker Theater featuring works by African-American composers including Damien Sneed and Margaret Bonds. Later this season, Liverman is scheduled to appear as Leporello/Don Giovanni at LA Opera and the Huntsman/Rusalka at the Metropolitan Opera. He has sung the title role in a concert version of Porgy and Bess with the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal, performed with the Civic Orchestra of Chicago in Mozart’s Mass in C Minor, in Orff’s Carmina Burana and Handel’s Messiah as a guest artist at the University of Chicago, and as baritone soloist/Brahms’s A German Requiem with the Las Vegas Philharmonic. A graduate of Wheaton College, Liverman received a 2018 Sphinx Medal of Excellence, a 2017 3Arts Award and a George London Award. In 2015, he won the prestigious Stella Maris International Vocal Competition. 

Martin Luther Clark

Tenor

The tenor and first-year Ryan Opera Center member graduated last spring from the Curtis Institute of Music with a master’s degree in opera. While on the East Coast, he performed with the Russian Opera Workshop in concert, portraying both Vaudemont/Iolanta and King Charles/The Maid of Orleans during the 2019 summer season. With Curtis Opera Theatre, Clark sang the roles of Don Ottavio/Don Giovanni, Tobias Ragg/Sweeney Todd, and First Sailor/Dido and Aeneas. In the summer of 2018, he was heard as an Apprentice Artist at Central City Opera (Colorado) and as the tenor soloist at the Library of Congress, where he sang published and unpublished works by Leonard Bernstein for the 100thanniversary of the composer’s birth. Clark has also been heard with the Lyric Opera of Kansas City as a Resident Artist, has performed numerous roles and made gala appearances with the University of North Texas Opera, The Dallas Opera (cover), The Dallas Opera Outreach, Charlottesville Opera, Opera in Concert, Opera North, and Wolf Trap Opera. Clark will make his Lyric debut as Police Buddy 2 in Blue by Jeanine Tesori and Tazewell Thompson, and will also appear as First Philistine in Samson and Delilah.

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

Lunga Eric Hallam

Tenor

The tenor and first-year Ryan Opera Center member was born and raised in Khayelitsha, Cape Town, South Africa. He 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 with Professor Sidwil James Hartman (vocal studies). 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 Don Ramiro/La Cenerentola at Cape Town Conservatory. Hallam also competed as a semifinalist in the 2019 Neue Stimmen International Singing Competition and the 2019 Voice of South Africa International Singing Competition. In Lyric’s 2021 Season, Hallam will appear in Samson and Delilah and The Marriage of Figaro

Lunga Eric Hallam is sponsored by Ms. Gay K. Stanek.

Leroy Davis

Baritone

The baritone 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 in multiple roles in the world premiere of Terence Blanchard and Kasi Lemmon’s Fire Shut Up In My Bones (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 Malcolm/Giovanni Pacini’s Maria, Regina d’Inghilterra. Davis has also portrayed 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. Previous credits include Maximilian/Candide as an Apprentice Artist with Chautauqua Opera. As a Studio Artist with Florentine Opera, his portrayals included Aeneas and Adonis/Dido and Aeneas and Venus and Adonis, Papageno/The Magic Flute, and Maitre D’ and Farley/Sister Carrie (world premiere and recording). He was also the bass soloist for Bruckner’s Te Deum with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra.

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

Craig Terry

Pianist and Ryan Opera Center Music Director

The American pianist has an international performance career and recently won a GRAMMY Award for “Best Classical Solo Vocal Album” for the recording he made with Joyce DiDonato, “Songplay.” He has served as the Jannotta Family Endowed Chair music director of Lyric’s Ryan Opera Center since 2013, after having spent 11 seasons with the company as an assistant conductor. Before coming to Lyric, he was an assistant conductor at the Metropolitan Opera after joining its Lindemann Young Artist Development Program. Terry has performed extensively with such esteemed artists such as Jamie Barton, Stephanie Blythe, Lawrence Brownlee, Renée Fleming, Susan Graham, Brian Jagde, Joseph Kaiser, Quinn Kelsey, Kate Lindsey, Ana María Martínez, Susanna Phillips, Luca Pisaroni, and Patricia Racette, among others. He has collaborated as a chamber musician with members of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, the Lyric Opera Orchestra, Leipzig’s Gewandhaus Orchester, and the Pro Arte String Quartet. Terry is artistic director of “Beyond the Aria,” a recital series presented by the Harris Theater in collaboration with Lyric Opera of Chicago. His discography includes “Diva on Detour” with Patricia Racette, “As Long As There Are Songs” with Stephanie Blythe, and “Chanson d’Avril” with Nicole Cabell.

Craig Terry is The Jannotta Family Endowed Chair

Chris Reynolds

Pianist

The first-year Ryan Opera Center pianist 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 the National Sawdust. A two-time winner of the Juilliard Vocal Arts Honors Recital Auditions, he has been a fellow at SongFest and Aspen Music Festival and School, as well as a Schwab Rising Star at the Caramoor Center for the Arts 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. He has given a series of lecture-performances at Columbia University and Union College in Schenectady, and has been on the faculties of the Internationale Meistersinger Akademie, William Paterson University, and the Mostly Modern Festival. Reynolds holds Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from The Juilliard School. In Lyric’s 2021 Season, he will serve on the music staff for The Marriage of Figaro.

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

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Sponsors

Anonymous
Donor
Walter E. Heller Foundation
Rhoda and Henry Frank Family Foundation
Cherryl T. Thomas

Mary and Lionel Go
Carol "Mickey" Norton
Debbie K. Wright