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      WFMT Ryan Opera Center Recital Series

      The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center at Lyric Opera of Chicago

      What do Nicole Cabell, Matthew Polenzani, and Susanna Phillips have in common?

      These international opera singers trained at Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Ryan Opera Center.

      Each year, the Ryan Opera Center nurtures gifted young artists who are on their way to major careers. Singers from all over the world compete for a place in this program, which offers vocal coaching, coaching in languages, performance experience, and a supportive environment to learn numerous operatic roles.

      WFMT proudly presents the 2014-2015 Ryan Opera Center class in this recital series hosted by Colin Ure.

      Ryan Opera Center Ensemble members

      The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center was established in 1974 as the professional artist-development program for Lyric Opera of Chicago. Since its inception, the Ryan Opera Center has been recognized as one of the premier programs of its kind in the world. That standing is maintained by providing the finest up-and-coming singers with unparalleled training and experience.

      Selected from some 400 singers who audition annually, the Ryan Opera Center Ensemble members are in residence for twelve months. During Lyric Opera’s main stage season, Ryan Opera Center members perform and understudy a significant number of principal and supporting roles. This presents an extraordinary opportunity to work with the world’s greatest opera singers, conductors, directors, orchestra, and chorus.

      A testament to the Ryan Opera Center’s caliber and success is the roster of distinguished alumni who perform regularly on the stages of leading international opera houses, including René Barbera, Harolyn Blackwell, Nicole Cabell, Elizabeth DeShong, Mark S. Doss, Christopher Feigum, Elizabeth Futral, Roger Honeywell, Joseph Kaiser, Maria Kanyova, Quinn Kelsey, Gregory Kunde, Dina Kuznetsova, Emily Magee, Amanda Majeski, Susanna Phillips, Matthew Polenzani, Christian Van Horn, Amber Wagner, and Erin Wall.

      The Ryan Opera Center Recital Series is made possible by the generous support of Julie and Roger Baskes.

      Recitals will be broadcast on the first Monday of the month at 6:00 pm, with a repeat broadcast the following Sunday at 11:00 pm.
      The series producer is Dan Goldberg. Program engineers are Chris Willis and Mary Mazurek. The program is administered by Director Dan Novak and music director Craig Terry. Renée Fleming is serves as an advisor.

      Program Schedule | Fall 2014 / Spring 2015

      Monday, October 13, 2014 at 6:00 pm* 
      Sunday, October 19, 2014 at 11:00 pm

      Duo recital with Laura Wilde and J’nai Bridges

      Soprano Laura Wilde and mezzo-soprano J’nai Bridges take the stage to sing duets from Mozart’s Così fan tutte and Bellini’s Norma, and solo pieces by Brahms, Ravel, and Peter Derose. They’ll be accompanied by the Ryan Opera Center’s music director, Craig Terry. 

      *This broadcast is on a special day due to the live opening night broadcast of Lyric Opera of Chicago’s production of Capriccio.

      Monday, November 3, 2014 at 6:00 pm 
      Sunday, November 9, 2014 at 11:00 pm

      Songs about Women

      If love is what makes the world go ‘round, the adoration of women is what goes ‘round our music.  From movies to opera to the stage we will hear works by Brodzky and Cahn, Verdi, Faure, Bernstein, and Sondheim.  We will also hear some French melodies with songs by Reynaldo Hahn and Henri Duparc.  The performers from the Ryan Opera Center are tenors Jesse Donner and Jonathan Johnson and bass Bradley Smoak.  The pianists are Ryan Opera Center pianist Maureen Zoltek and Craig Terry, music director of the Ryan Opera Center.

      Monday, December 1, 2014 at 6:00 pm 
      Sunday, December 7, 2014 at 11:00 pm

      Music for the Holidays

      The recital includes festive works by John Rutter, Francesco Durante, Benjamin Britten, and George Frideric Handel. The featured artists are sopranos Tracy Cantin and Laura Wilde, mezzo-soprano J’nai Bridges, tenors Jesse Donner and Jonathan Johnson, and bass Bradley Smoak.  They will be joined by Lyric Opera Orchestra violist Frank Babbitt, and Craig Terry and Laurann Gilley at the piano.

      Monday, January 5, 2015 at 6:00 pm 
      Sunday, January 11, 2015 at 11:00 pm

      Duo Recital with Julie Miller and Will Liverman

      Mezzo-soprano Julie Miller and baritone Will Liverman are the next duo to be featured on the Ryan Opera Center Recital Series. They will be singing solo pieces by Mahler and Medtner and will perform the Tower Scene from Debussy’s Pelleas et Melisande. They will be joined by Ryan Opera Center pianist Maureen Zoltek and Music Director, Craig Terry.

      Monday, February 2, 2015 at 6:00 pm 
      Sunday, February 8, 2015 at 11:00 pm

      Trio Recital with Angela Mannino, Anthony Clark Evans, and Richard Ollarsaba

      This recital features two second year singers, baritone, Anthony Clark Evans and bass-baritone, Richard Ollarsaba performing works of Guy Ropartz and George Butterworth. The recital will also feature special guest soprano, Angela Mannino, who was a member of the Ryan Opera Center from 2008 to 2010 and has made important opera and concert debuts throughout the US, including her Metropolitan Opera debut as the Young Girl, in Lulu. She will perform works by Schumann, Rogers and Hammerstein, and Lerner and Loewe The pianists are Ryan Opera Center pianist Maureen Zoltek and Craig Terry, music director of the Ryan Opera Center.

      Monday, March 2, 2015 at 6:00 pm 
      Sunday, March 8, 2015 at 11:00 pm

      Voices of the Persecuted

      Lyric Opera of Chicago will be presenting performances of two holocaust inspired works by Polish composers: Mieczyslaw Weinberg’s large-scale opera, The Passenger, and The Property, a newly commissioned chamber opera based on Jewish Klezmer music by Vlad Marhulets. The theme of this Ryan Opera Center recital is Voices of the Persecuted. The program will feature works by Srul Irving Glick, Viktor Ullmann, and an aria from: Mieczyslaw Weinberg’s opera, The Passenger. Performing in the recital are Julie Miller, J’nai Bridges, Tracy Cantin, Richard Ollarsaba, Bradley Smoak, Laura Wilde, and Jonathan Johnson with clarinetist Charlene Zimmerman and pianist and music director Craig Terry.

      Monday, April 6, 2015 at 6:00 pm 
      Sunday, April 12, 2015 at 11:00 pm

      Duo Recital with Tracy Cantin and John Irvin

      Soprano, Tracy Cantin and tenor John Irvin perform a variety of works including solo works by Debussy and Schubert as well as duets by Duparc and Schumann. The recital will also feature piano duet featuring Ryan Opera Center pianists Maureen Zoltek and Eric Weimer performing Emmanuel Chabrier’s Sovenirs de Munich.

      Monday, May 4, 2015 at 6:00 pm 
      Sunday, May 10, 2015 at 11:00 pm

      Songs About Men

      This Ryan Opera Center Recital features music about men. From Schubert’s song Die Manner sind Mechant or Men are Up to No Good to Don Ray and Hughie Prince’s WWII hit number Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy from Company B this recital covers a whole range of material from across the musical spectrum. Featured in this recital are J’nai Bridges, Bradley Smoak, Julie Miller, Tracy Cantin, Laura Wilde, Jesse Donner, Hlengiwe Mkwanazi, Anthony Clark Evans, and Richard Ollarsaba. The pianists are Ryan Opera Center Music Director Craig Terry and Ryan Opera Center pianist Maureen Zoltek.

      Monday, June 1, 2015 at 6:00 pm 
      Sunday, June 7, 2015 at 11:00 pm


      Scotland is an ancient and magical land whose beauty is overwhelming. Scotland is also a country with a turbulent history, and its romantic folklore, rich with dramatic legends and heroic characters, has inspired writers and composers for centuries. On this Ryan Opera Center recital, you will hear music which is both traditional to Scotland as well as music written by composers inspired by the country, its writers, and its history. We will feature music by Schumann, Bizet, and Lerner and Lowe. Performing are Hlengiwe Mkwanazi, Julie Miller, Bradley Smoak, Tracy Cantin, John Irvin, and Jonathan Johnson, with pianists Craig Terry and Maureen Zoltek.