what’s playing now
The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center Recital Series
The First Monday of the Month at 6:00 pm
Members of the Ryan Opera Center at Lyric Opera of Chicago will be featured in WFMT's monthly broadcast recital series. Each one hour program will be performed by current members of the Ryan Opera Center, Lyric’s professional artist-development program for gifted singers. Each May Ryan Opera Center members begin an intensive full-year residency under the guidance of Artistic Director Gianna Rolandi and numerous other opera professionals, and work on a daily basis with Lyric’s coaches. The Ryan Opera Center singers also get main stage experience at Lyric Opera, taking on roles in most of the season’s productions and acting as understudies to many of the stars of the operas.
The Ryan Opera Center Recital Series programs will each have a wide range of musical styles and composers, all related to a central theme. Ryan Opera Center pianists Alan Darling, Craig Terry and Eric Weimer have created these programs and will accompany the current young artists, who occasionally will be joined by ROC alumni, including sopranos Amber Wagner and Susanna Phillips, and baritone Quinn Kelsey. All recitals are recorded before a live audience in WFMT's Fay and Daniel Levin Performance Studio.
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.
October 1, 2012, at 6:00 pm
Replay October 7, 2012, at 11:00 pm
Other Americans In Paris
The series begins with music written by American composers who lived and worked in Paris during the 20th century. You'll hear songs by Cole Porter, Elliott Carter, Thomas Pasatieri, Aaron Copland and Virgil Thomson. Ryan Opera Center members Will Liverman, baritone, J'nai Bridges, mezzo soprano, Emily Birsan, soprano, and John Irvin, tenor, are the performers, with pianist Alan Darling. Colin Ure is the host.
November 5, 2012, at 6:00 pm
Replay November 11, 2012, at 11:00 pm
More songs have been written to texts from the plays of William Shakespeare than from any other writer. Ryan Opera Center pianist Alan Darling has created a program Shakespeare songs by Franz Schubert, Roger Quilter, Richard Strauss, Arthur Honegger, Michael tippet, Hector Berlioz, Gerald Finzi, and Cole Porter. Singers include soprano Emily Birsan, mezzo soprano J'nai Bridges, tenor John Irvin, baritone Will Liverman, and bass Evan Boyer, with pianist Alan Darling. Colin Ure is host.
December 3, 2012, at 6:00 pm
Replay December 9, 2012, at 11:00 pm
Bass Evan Boyer and bass-baritone David Govertsen created this program of a wide variety of songs and arias inspired by the character and stories of Don Quixote. You'll hear an aria from Don Quichotte auf der Hochzeit des Camacho by Georg Philipp Telemann, the song-cycle Don Quichotte à Dulcinée by Maurice Ravel, and Jacques Ibert's song-cycle Chansons de Don Quichotte. Also on the program are two arias and a duet from the opera Don Quichotte by Jules Massenet, and four songs from Mitch Leigh's musical The Man of La Mancha. Evan Boyer and David Govertsen perform with pianist Eric Weimer. Colin Ure is the host.
January 7, 2013, at 6:00 pm
Replay January 13, 2012, at 11:00 pm
Chicago's Civic Opera House, the home of Lyric Opera and the Ryan Opera Center, opened in 1929, just after the Wall Street Crash! This Ryan Opera Center recital features a wide variety of music: songs from the Depression; arias from operas by Lehar and Vaughan Williams that were popular at the time; love songs and funny songs heard during that era; and even an aria from Verdi's Aida, the first opera performed at the Civic Opera House. Our singers are sopranos Emily Birsan, Tracy Cantin and Kiri Deonarine; mezzo sopranos J'nai Bridges and Cecelia Hall; tenors Bernard Holcomb and John Irvin; baritone Will Liverman; bass-baritone David Govertsen; and bass Evan Boyer. They are joined by Ryan Opera Center alumna Amber Wagner, soprano. The pianist is Craig Terry and Colin Ure is the host.
Monday, February 4 at 6:00 PM
Replay Sunday, February 10 at 11:00 PM
African American Composers
On the February Ryan Opera Center recital three Center artists - mezzo soprano J'nai Bridges, tenor Bernard Holcomb, and baritone Will Liverman - join pianist Craig Terry for a program that celebrates the wide and varied musical contributions by African American composers, with just a sampling of their remarkable music.
You'll hear familiar and not-so-familiar spirituals, including Hall Johnson’s "His Name So Sweet," Henry Burleigh's "Were You There," Sheldon Becton's "All Good Things Shall Be Added Unto You," and the uplifting "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands," in Margaret Bonds' famous arrangement. Also on the program will be John Carter's multi-song Cantata, the Five Songs of Laurence Hope by Henry Burleigh, and "Soliloquy" by John Work. Craig Terry is the pianist. Colin Ure hosts.
Monday, March 4 at 6:00 PM
Replay, Sunday, March 10 at 11:00 PM
Voices of Women
This Ryan Opera Center recital - "Voices of Women" - is filled with art songs and arias about memorable women, by composers from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. On "Voices of Women" four of the Center's singers - sopranos Emily Birsan and Tracy Cantin, and mezzo sopranos J'nai Bridges and Cecelia Hall - join alumna soprano Susanna Phillips and pianist Eric Weimer for a wide-ranging program of works about women throughout history, from all walks of life.
The program begins with a duet from Mozart's sublime opera The Marriage of Figaro, sung by Emily Birsan and Susanna Phillips. In American composer Allen Louis Smith's extended work Vignettes Ellis Island the experiences of immigrants are given elegant and often heart-breaking life by the voice of Cecelia Hall. From the life of the ordinary person to the extraordinary, we go to Robert Schumann's last music for solo voice. His Five Songs of Queen Mary Stuart are settings of letters and poems she wrote throughout her remarkable, and ultimately very sad, life. Susanna Phillips joins Eric Weimer for these remarkable and little known songs.
Other music on "Voices of Women" includes the three Chanson de Bilitis by Debussy, with J'nai Bridges, the aria Ain't it a Pretty Night from Carlisle Floyd's opera Susannah, sung by Tracy Cantin, and an aria from Richard Danielpour's opera Margaret Garner. The pianist is Eric Weimer. Colin Ure is the host.
Monday, April 1 at 6:00 PM
Replay, Sunday, 7 at 11:00 PM
World War II
Our April Ryan Opera Center Recital has perhaps the widest range of music of any of the programs this season. There are no opera arias, and the songs range from classical pieces by Duparc and Poulenc to popular songs and ensembles of the day. The point of view of wives and sweethearts, waiting at home for their solders’ return, is shown in “He’ll Have to Cross the Atlantic” by Styne and Cahn (sung by mezzo soprano J’nai Bridges), Goel and Shapiro’s “He’s Home for a Little While” (sung by soprano Emily Birsan), and Kent and Farrar’s “The Last Mile Home” (with soprano Kiri Deonarine). The thoughts of soldiers come through in “I’ll be Home for Christmas” by Kent and Gannon (sung by baritone Will Liverman), and “Lune D’Avril” (“Moon of April”) by Francis Poulenc (performed by bass-baritone David Govertsen). The pain of war is represented by “Au pays où se fait la guerre” (“To the country where war is waged”) by Henri Duparc, (sung by mezzo soprano Cecelia Hall) and American composer Alan Louis Smith’s “Vignettes: Letters from George to Evelyn” (with soprano Tracy Cantin). The cheerful and wildly popular song “Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree” (with Emily, Cecelia and J’nai as our home-grown Andrew sisters), the sentimental “White Cliffs of Dover” (sung by J’nai Bridges) and the hopeful “Blue Skies” (with Emily Birsan and tenor Bernard Holcomb) make up the rest of this fascinating recital. The pianist is Craig Terry and Colin Ure is the host.
Monday, May 6 at 6:00 PM
Replay, Sunday, May 12 at 11:00 PM
The arrival of spring can bring out the desire to travel in nearly everyone, and that’s the theme of our next recital. In “Wanderlust” five of the men from the Ryan Opera Center are joined by alumnus, baritone Quinn Kelsey, and pianist Eric Weimer, to perform music about all kinds of travel. Baritone David Govertsen and Quinn Kelsey perform five of the Songs of Travel by Ralph Vaughan Williams. And “Wanderlust” also features songs by Schubert, including “Wanderers Nachtlied,” and “Der Wanderer,” sung by baritone Joseph Lim. And bass Evan Boyer performs three of the songs from Schubert’s dark and emotional cycle Winterreise; “Im Dorfe,” “Der Wegweiser,” and “Mut.”.
Gustav Mahler’s cycle Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen, like Winterreise, often shows the sadness of a traveler who is wandering because of lost love. Baritone Will Liverman sings two of Mahler’s great songs from this cycle “Wenn mein Schatz Hochzeit macht” and “Ich hab’ ein gluhend messer.” We’ll also hear music by Leonard Bernstein on this recital, from two of his important theatre works - On the Town and Candide, sung by tenor Bernard Holcomb. The pianist is Eric Weimer and Colin Ure is the host.
Monday, June 3 at 6:00 PM
Sunday, June 9 at 11:00 PM
On this season’s final Ryan Opera Center Recital we celebrate our city of Chicago. Music about Chicago, or set in this city, is found in operettas, musicals and both classic and popular song. Our program opens with “The Sports of Gay Chicago” from Jerome Kern’s Showboat - a song sung by the entire ensemble that is NOT about baseball or football, but about high-living men about town. And we’ll also hear two duets from The Duchess of Chicago (did you know there was a duchess in Chicago?) by the Hungarian composer Emmerich Kalman. Richard Rodger’s Pal Joey is represented by the trio “Great Big Town,” and our neighboring city to the north gets a nod in Alec Wilder’s “Milwaukee.”
Songs in the recital range from serious art songs by Chicago composers Augusta Reed Thomas and Lyric Opera’s own Philip Morehead, to the wildly funny “I Used to Work in Chicago” and the lively “Red Hot Chicago.” And there will be two important arias from William Bolcom’s A View from the Bridge, commissioned by Lyric Opera in 1999, an opera based on the play by Arthur Miller. The recital ends-as it must-with a rousing rendition of “Bear Down, Chicago Bears.” The ensemble includes sopranos Emily Birsan, Kiri Deonarine and Tracy Cantin; mezzo-soprano J’nai Bridges; tenors Bernard Holcomb and John Irvin; baritones Joseph Lim and Will Liverman; bass-baritone David Govertsen and bass Evan Boyer. The pianist is Craig Terry and Colin Ure hosts.