Lyric Opera of Chicago

The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center


 **PLEASE NOTE: For 2016-2017 Auditions go to tab (left) for application and instructions.**

 About The Ryan Opera Center

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. Renée Fleming is Advisor.

  Lyric Opera of Chicago La boheme

While a member of the Ryan Opera Center, Joseph Lim (far right) performed Schaunard with alumna Elizabeth Futral (center) and the rest of the cast of La bohème in Lyric Opera's 2012-13 season.

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, Mattew Polenzani, Christian Van Horn, Amber Wagner, and Erin Wall.

The Ryan Opera Center, “an elite singer-training known as a launching pad to big-time careers...”
Chicago Tribune

Ryan Opera Center 2014-2015 Ensemble


Sopranos Mezzo-sopranos

Tracy Cantin


Hlengiwe Mkhwanazi


Laura Wilde



J'nai Bridges


Julie Anne Miller



Tenors       Baritones    

Jesse Donner


John Irvin


Jonathan Johnson

Jonathan Johnson


Anthony Clark Evans


Will Liverman




Bass-baritone   Bass     Pianist  

Richard Ollarsaba




Bradley Smoak

Bradley Smoak




Maureen Zoltek

















98.7WFMT and Recital Series

Generously sponsored by Julie and Roger Baskes.

Upcoming broadcast schedule:

Rebroadcast of "Unknown Opera"
August 4 at 6:00pm
August 10 at 11:00pm

Rebroadcast of "Music Inspired by The Trojan Wars"
September 1 at 6:00pm
September 7 at 11:00pm

Go to Audio tab to hear previously broadcast programs.


Preliminary Auditions for the 2016-2017 Ryan Opera Center Ensemble

All applicants must submit a completed application form and audition video consisting of two contrasting arias. Videos may not include excerpts from staged performances. Videos must be uploaded to the Internet (we suggest YouTube) and applicants must include a link to their video in their application form. DVDs and emailed video files will not be accepted.


1. Click here to download the application form with complete instructions (.doc file).

2. After downloading, please fill in all of the requested information and save as a Word file (.doc).

3. Email application form including link to audition video to

Applicants will be notified via email if invited to a live audition. Applicants who accept our invitation to a live audition must pay an audition fee of $30 within two weeks of notification or withdraw in writing.


Timetable in 2015:


City Application
March 3 New York City January 15 February 1 February 15
May 18 &
July 18
Chicago March 15 April 1 April 15



The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center is an Equal Opportunity Employer/program.

Preliminary Auditions for the Ryan Opera Center Pianist

Thank you for your interest in the Ryan Opera Center Pianist position. The Ryan Opera Center is not currently accepting applications from pianists; please check for openings next year.


The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center is an Equal Employment Opportunity Employer/program.

Ryan Opera Center Administration

Dan Novak, Director

The Ryan Opera Center Board Opera Center Director Endowed Chair

Craig Terry, Music Director

Renée Fleming, Advisor

Laura Chambers, Auditions Coordinator

Telephone: (312) 332-2244

Fax: (312) 345-8425

For further information on Ryan Opera Center singers and for inquiries about engagements for individual members or the entire Ensemble, please contact Dan Novak, Director.

Ryan Opera Center Faculty 

Voice Instruction
Robert and Ellen Marks
Vocal Studies Program
Endowed Chair
in honor of Gianna Rolandi

Julia Faulkner
W. Stephen Smith

Coaching Staff

Emanuele Andrizzi
William C. Billingham
Codrut Birsan
Alan Darling
Laurann Gilley
Philip Morehead
Celeste Rue
Eric Weimer

Guest Master Artists

Marco Armiliato
Stephanie Blythe
Sir Andrew Davis
Renée Fleming
Quinn Kelsey
Ana María Martínez
Eric Owens
Christopher Purves
Marina Rebeka
Bo Skovhus

Foreign Language Instruction

Klára Moldová
Renate Moser
Alessandra Visconti
Eric Weimer

Acting and Movement Instruction

Joey Bland
Anne Libera
Matthew Ozawa
Timothy Sniffen
August Tye

Guest Lecturer and Consultant

Roger Pines

Ryan Opera Center Artistic/Production Personnel


Emanuele Andrizzi
Warren Jones


Michael La Tour
Matthew Ozawa

Wigs and Makeup

Sarah Hatten
Alicja Klosek

Stage Mangers

Donald Claxon
Peggy Stenger
Bill Walters


Theresa Ham
Lucy Lindquist
Maureen Reilly

Vocal Studio Class

Gianna Rolandi, former Director of The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center at Lyric Opera of Chicago, leads members of the 12-13 Ensemble in a vocal studio class backstage at Lyric. Courtesy of The Chicago Tribune.

Click here to watch .

Recital Series on 98.7WFMT Highlights from "Love Songs"


 Recital Series on 98.7WFMT Highlights from "Liederabend"


 Recital Series on 98.7WFMT Highlights from "Spring"


Lyric Mainstage Experience

Evan Boyer

Ryan Opera Center member Evan Boyer talks about the experience of performing on Lyric Opera's mainstage. Courtesy of 98.7WFMT.