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Lyric Opera’s Ryan training center adds six young singers to its ensemble for 2018-19

Submitted by on Sep 20, 2017 – 9:18 am

The 2018-19 training ensemble, with Final Audition sponsors, Lyric Opera directors and Ryan Center coaches. (Jaclyn Simpson)

This Just In: The following is a news release written by an arts organization, submitted to Chicago On the Aisle.

Dan Novak, director of the Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center, the professional artist development program at Lyric Opera of Chicago, is pleased to announce that soprano Emily Pogorelc, mezzo-soprano Kayleigh Decker, tenor Eric Ferring, baritones Christopher Kenney and Ricardo José Rivera, and bass-baritone David Weigel have been accepted into this prestigious program for its 2018/19 Ensemble.

These singers will join current Ryan Opera Center sopranos Whitney Morrison and Ann Toomey, contralto Lauren Decker, tenors Josh Lovell and Mario Rojas, bass-baritone Alan Higgs, and pianist Madeline Slettedahl, all of whom will return for another year in the world-renowned program.

Each year, the Ryan Opera Center holds preliminary auditions around the country; a small group of gifted young singers, mostly from the post-graduate level, are selected from approximately 400 applicants worldwide and invited to final-round auditions in Chicago each September. This year’s Final Auditions were held on Saturday, September 9, in the Ardis Krainik Theatre of the Lyric Opera House. For the fifth year in a row, the Final Auditions were attended by an invited audience of some 700 Lyric subscribers and donors, who also participated by voting for the Audience Favorite Award. The award and $500 cash prize went to Ricardo José Rivera.

Lyric’s dramaturg Roger Pines served as master of ceremonies for the Final Auditions, and the audience was treated to a performance by mezzo-soprano J’Nai Bridges, a Ryan Opera Center alumna (2012-2015) who performs extensively in the U.S. and abroad. Lyric’s general director, president & CEO Anthony Freud, music director Sir Andrew Davis, and vice president, artistic planning Andreas Melinat joined Novak, as well as Ryan Opera Center music director Craig Terry and director of vocal studies Julia Faulkner in serving as judges for the day.

The 2018/19 Ensemble members will begin their tenure next spring, and will spend the summer studying – voice lessons; language, acting, and movement classes; and instruction from guest artists, in addition to performing in various concerts and recitals. Later, they will participate in Lyric’s mainstage season, performing and understudying a variety of roles, as well as additional Ryan Opera Center concerts and recitals.

Current Ryan Opera Center members who will depart after the 2017/18 season are soprano Diana Newman, mezzo-soprano Lindsay Metzger, tenor Alec Carlson, baritones Emmett O’Hanlon and Takaoki Onishi, and bass Patrick Guetti.

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