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      WFMT Ryan Opera Center Recital Series

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

      A new season of Ryan Opera Center recitals begins in the fall 2014.

      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. The program is administered by Director Dan Novak and Music Director Craig Terry.


      Ryan Opera Center Ensemble members

      Selected from some 400 singers who audition annually, the Ryan Opera Center Ensemble members are in residence for twelve months. Over the course of the year they receive advanced instruction in numerous aspects of operatic performance, including voice lessons and coachings, language and acting training, and master classes with some of opera’s most renowned artists.

      During Lyric Opera’s mainstage 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. They also gain valuable performing experience by participating in recitals and concerts at many Chicago-area venues.

      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. It includes 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. The series is hosted by Colin Ure and produced by Carolyn Paulin. Music producers are Christopher Willis and Mary Mazurek. Recitals will be broadcast beginning in October on the first Monday of the month at 6 PM, with a repeat broadcast the following Sunday at 11 PM.

      Click here to learn more about the Ryan Opera Center.

      Program Schedule | 2013-2014

      Monday, October 7 at 6 PM 
      Sunday, October 13 at 11 PM

      OPERATIC CHARACTERS IN SONG

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      Our second Ryan Opera Center Recital Series opens with a program of songs – not arias – that feature characters we know from opera. For example, the character Adriana is heard, but not in Richard Strauss’s famous opera Adriana auf Naxos, but in Franz Joseph Haydn’s solo cantata Ariana a Naxos. Ophelia is represented not in music from Ambroise Thomas’ opera Hamlet, but in the Ophelia Lieder by Johannes Brahms. Lady Macbeth is heard in Joseph’s Horowitz’s Lady Macbeth; a scena. There also are songs by Schubert, Bizet, Brown and Henderson, Ben Moore and Harry Warren. In this program you’ll hear sopranos Tracy Cantin and Laura Wilde; mezzo-sopranos J’nai Bridges and Julie Anne Miller; and baritones Anthony Clark Evans and Will Liverman. Pianists are Craig Terry and Maureen Zoltek, and Colin Ure hosts.

      Monday, November 4 at 6 PM
      Sunday, November 10 at 11 PM

      CENTENARIES

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      We celebrate three important music anniversaries in this program: the 200th anniversary of the birth of both Richard Wagner and Giuseppe Verdi, and the 100th anniversary of Benjamin Britten’s birth. From the rarely heard song cycle On This island by Britten, as well selections from his opera Gloriana, to songs and ensembles by Wagner – including a portion of his Wesendonck Lieder – to the lovely songs Stornello and In Solitaria Stanza by Verdi, this recital is a true celebration of these three remarkable composers. And on the lighter side, you’ll hear the piano duet on themes from Wagner’s Ring cycle, by André Messager and Gabriel Fauré, as well as the hilarious Guide to Britten by Flanders and Swann. Our performers are sopranos Emily Birsan, Tracy Cantin and Laura Wilde; mezzo-sopranos J’nai Bridges and Julie Anne Miller; tenors Adam Bonnani and John Irvin; baritones Anthony Clark Evans and Will Liverman; and bass-baritone Richard Ollarsaba. Pianists are Craig Terry and Alan Darling, and Colin Ure hosts.

      Monday, December 2 at 6 PM
      Sunday, December 8 at 11 PM

      MUSIC FOR THE FESTIVE SEASON

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      From the opening Carol of the Bells to the closing White Christmas, the artists of Ryan Opera Center celebrate the Festive Season in song. You’ll hear an aria from J. S. Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, sacred songs by Franz Schubert and Richard Strauss, and the well-known holiday pieces Gesu Bambino by Pietro Yon and O Holy Night by Adolf Adam. The spiritual Sweet Little Jesus Boy gets a special treatment by mezzo–soprano J’nai Bridges joined by her baritone colleague Will Liverman at the piano. And there will be lighter popular songs for Christmas as well. Our performers are sopranos Emily Birsan, Tracy Cantin and Laura Wilde; mezzo-sopranos J’nai Bridges and Julie Anne Miller; tenors Adam Bonnani and John Irvin; baritones Anthony Clark Evans and Will Liverman; and bass-baritone Richard Ollarsaba. Pianists are Craig Terry and Maureen Zoltek, and Colin Ure hosts.

      Monday, January 6 at 6 PM
      Sunday, January 12 at 11 PM

      UNKOWN OPERA

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      The less well-known riches of the operatic world are explored and celebrated in this Ryan Opera Center recital. We begin with an aria from the Barber of Seville. But this “Barber” is not the one you know by Rossini, but the earlier setting of the same story by Giovanni Paisiello. We know Pietro Mascagni for Cavelleria Rusticana, but on this program we feature a wonderful aria from his lesser-known L’Amico Fritz. You’ll also hear arias from Sappho by Charles Gounod and Mignon by Ambroise Thomas. Contemporary American opera is represented by an aria from Robert Ward’s Pulitzer Prize-winning The Crucible and Champion, the new opera by Terrance, premiered in July of 2013. The entire ensemble closes the program with selections from Wright and Forrest’s Song of Norway. Our performers are sopranos Emily Birsan, Tracy Cantin and Laura Wilde; mezzo-sopranos J’nai Bridges and Julie Anne Miller; tenors Adam Bonnani and John Irvin; baritones Anthony Clark Evans and Will Liverman; and bass-baritone Richard Ollarsaba. Pianists are Craig Terry, Eric Weimer, and Maureen Zoltek, and Colin Ure hosts.

      Monday, February 3 at 6 PM
      Sunday, February 9 at 11 PM

      LOVE SONGS

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      Our February Ryan Opera Center recital, naturally, is about love. Love in all its forms – happy, unrequited, restless, lost and new – has always been an inspiring subject for composers. You’ll hear songs, arias and duets, including very familiar songs by Giordani, Schubert, and Beethoven. There will be an aria from Debussy’s opera Pelléas and Mélisande, and a beloved duet from Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess. Less familiar songs by Grieg, Quilter, Brahms, Dello Joio, and Richard Strauss are included, and American musical theatre is represented by a song by Jerome Kern and a duet by Gershwin. Ryan Opera Center singers in this program are sopranos Emily Birsan, Tracy Cantin and Laura Wilde; mezzo-soprano J’nai Bridges; tenors Adam Bonanni and John Irvin; baritones Anthony Clark Evans and Will Liverman, and bass-baritone Richard Ollarsaba. Pianists are Craig Terry and Maureen Zoltek, and Colin Ure hosts.

      Monday, March 3 at 6 PM
      Sunday, March 9 at 11 PM

      LIEDERABEND

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      The Ryan Opera Center recital for March is an “evening of song,” or Liederabend, and it’s filled with some of the greatest German art songs ever composed. You’ll hear well-known songs and duets by Mendelssohn, Schumann, Schubert, Brahms, and Richard Strauss, as well as rarities by Alban Berg and Joseph Marx. Renowned Danish baritone Bo Skovhus, a passionate recitalist, coached the Ryan Center singers in this program and we’ll hear him performing as well. Our ROC singers are sopranos Emily Birsan 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. Pianists are Craig Terry and Maureen Zoltek, and Colin Ure hosts.

      Monday, April 7 at 6 PM
      Sunday, April 13 at 11 PM

      SPRING

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      Our April Ryan Opera Center recital celebrates the long hoped-for season of Spring.  This wide-ranging program features songs of joy and passion by Richard Strauss, Franz Schubert and Gabriel Fauré, songs of yearning and sadness by Johannes Brahms, Stephen Foster, Stefano Donaudy, as well as Schubert and Strauss,  as well as delights by Gerald Finzi, Lerner and Loewe, Gene DePaul and Ivor Novello.   Ryan Opera Center singers in this program are sopranos Emily Birsan and Tracy Cantin; mezzo-sopranos J’nai Bridges and Julie Anne Miller; tenor John Irvin;  baritones Anthony Clark Evans and Will Liverman, and bass-baritone Richard Ollarsaba. Pianists are Craig Terry and Maureen Zoltek, and Colin Ure hosts.

      Monday, May 5 at 6 PM
      Sunday, May 11 at 11 PM

      AMERICA

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      America is the theme of our May Ryan Opera Center recital and features songs exclusively by American composers.   Of course there are songs by Stephen foster and Aaron Copland, but we also have charming works by the 19th century pianist/composer Amy Beach, and 20th century composers Craig Bohmler and Jack Beeson.  You’ll also hear the traditional Appalachian melody “He’s Gone Away, “and the delightful “Don’t Fence Me In” by Cole Porter. 
      Our ROC singers are sopranos Emily Birsan and Laura Wilde; mezzo-sopranos J’nai Bridges and Julie Anne Miller; tenor John Irvin; baritones Anthony Clark Evans and Will Liverman; and bass-baritone Richard Ollarsaba.  Pianists are Craig Terry and Maureen Zoltek, and Colin Ure is the host.

      Monday, June 2 at 6 PM
      Sunday, June 9 at 11 PM

      MUSIC INSPIRED BY THE TROJAN WARS

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      For our final Ryan Opera Center recital we have a program of music inspired by the Trojan Wars.  Opera composers from Purcell to Walton have been fascinated by this tale, and we have operatic treasures from Offenbach’s La Belle Hélène, Gluck’s Iphigénie en Tauride, Berlioz’s massive Les Troyen, William Walton’s Troilus and Cressida, and Purcell’s magnificent early opera Dido and Aeneas.   ROC singers on this program are sopranos Tracy Cantin and Laura Wilde; mezzo-sopranos J’nai Bridges and Julie Anne Miller; tenor John Irvin; baritones Anthony Clark Evans and Will Liverman; and bass-baritone Richard Ollarsaba.  Pianists are Craig Terry and Maureen Zoltek, and Colin Ure is the host.