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.


The 2016-17 Ryan Opera Center: (Top Row L-R): Alec Carlson, Lauren Decker, Jesse Donner, Patrick Guetti, Jonathan Johnson; (Middle Row L-R): Mingjie Lei, Mario Antonio Marra, Lindsay Metzger, Hlengiwe Mkhwanazi, Emmett O’Hanlon; (Bottom Row L-R): Diana Newman, Takaoki Onishi, Annie Rosen, Bradley Smoak, Ann Toomey


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 Sunday of the month at 7:00 pm. The host is Colin Ure. The series producer is Daniel Goldberg and the music producer is Christopher Willis. The program is administered by director Dan Novak, music director Craig Terry, and director of vocal studies Julia Falkner. Renée Fleming serves as an advisor.

Program Schedule | Fall 2016/Spring 2017

October 2, 2016, 7:00 pm

Duo Recital: Lindsey Metzger and Bradley Smoak

On in this recital, hear mezzo-soprano Lindsey Metzger and bass-baritone Bradley Smoak.  Bradley performs one of the earliest examples of a 19th century German art song with Beethoven’s “An die ferne Geliebte” (“To my beloved, far away”). Lindsey sings and speaks about Sibelius’ set of songs, Op. 37. And together they perform a duet from Bernstein’s Trouble in Tahiti. Ryan Opera Center music director Craig Terry accompanies on piano. Stream the broadcast below.


November 6, 2016, 7:00 pm

Trio Recital: Ann Toomey, Jesse Donner, and Mario Antonio Marra

In this recital, hear soprano Ann Toomey, tenor Jesse Donner, and pianist Mario Antonio Marra. Jesse and Mario perform one of the great songs of the 19th century, Franz Schubert’s famous ballad Der Erlkönig. Also, Mario and Ann perform a piece from Cuban composer Ernesto Lecuona’s zarzuela, Maria La O.

December 4, 2016, 7:00 pm

Duo Recital: Annie Rosen and Patrick Guetti

Mezzo-soprano Annie Rosen and bass Patrick Guetti are accompanied by guest pianist Alan Darling.  Annie sings a set of songs by Russian composer Nicolai Medtner which are based on the poetry of Goethe.  While Patrick performs songs by Jacques Ibert about the legendary character Don Quixote.  Together, they sing a pair of duets by Brahms.