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Lyric Opera of Chicago presents Rising Stars in Concert

The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center at Lyric Opera of Chicago will present its annual Rising Stars in Concert program on Saturday, March 26, at 7:30 p.m. at the Civic Opera House. The talented singers of the 2015/16 Ensemble will appear with members of the Lyric Opera Orchestra in a program of beloved classics and lesser-known masterpieces by a variety of composers including Berlioz, Britten, Cimarosa, Dvořák, Flotow, Floyd, Janáček, Mozart, Poulenc, Puccini, Rossini, R. Strauss, Stravinsky, Thomas and Verdi. Rising Stars in Concert is offered in celebration of another exceptionally successful year of training and performance for these up-and-coming artists.

As in previous years, Lyric donors of $75 and above are eligible to reserve two complimentary tickets for Rising Stars in Concert. For the first time ever, the public may purchase tickets, as may Lyric subscribers. General-public tickets will be available for $15-25. Lyric subscribers can purchase tickets for $10-20. Tickets for Rising Stars in Concert are available at

“We are enormously proud of our Ryan Opera Center artists, who have accomplished so much this season,” says Anthony Freud, Lyric’s general director. “It’s a pleasure to showcase their talents in this magnificent concert program, and to make this performance available to the general public to enjoy at such reasonable prices.”

Ryan Opera Center members who will be performing are sopranos Hlengiwe Mkhwanazi, Diana Newman and Laura Wilde; mezzo-sopranos Lindsay Metzger and Annie Rosen; tenors Alec Carlson, Jesse Donner, Jonathan Johnson and Mingjie Lei; baritones Anthony Clark Evans and Takaoki Onishi; bass-baritones Richard Ollarsaba and Bradley Smoak; and bass Patrick Guetti. Ryan Opera Center pianist and apprentice coach Mario Antonio Marra will be the first Ensemble member to conduct the orchestra at a Rising Stars in Concert performance, leading Verdi’s Luisa Miller overture.

Lyric audiences have seen the 2015/16 Ryan Opera Center members perform several critically acclaimed principal and supporting roles during Lyric Opera of Chicago’s 61st season. Ensemble members also served as understudies for a substantial number of major and minor roles. This concert provides a unique opportunity to hear these artists performing arias and ensembles with the Lyric Opera Orchestra. The orchestra will be conducted by Michael Christie, named first-ever music director of The Minnesota Opera in 2012 and a frequent guest conductor with orchestras and opera companies internationally.

At fourteen singers and one apprentice coach, the 2015/16 Ensemble is the Ryan Opera Center’s largest Ensemble to date. The roster includes three international singers – Hlengiwe Mkhwanazi from South Africa, Mingjie Lei from China and Takaoki Onishi from Japan – representing the continued evolution of the Ryan Opera Center, which in addition to cultivating American singers, is also identifying exceptional talent from around the globe. Lindsay Metzger is an Illinois native, hailing from Mundelein.

Ensemble members Anthony Clark Evans, Richard Ollarsaba and Laura Wilde are concluding their tenure with the Ryan Opera Center following the concert to pursue full-time careers nationally and internationally.

The remaining twelve Ensemble members will return to the program for 2016/17: sopranos Hlengiwe Mkhwanazi and Diana Newman; mezzo-sopranos Lindsay Metzger and Annie Rosen; tenors Alec Carlson, Jesse Donner, Jonathan Johnson, and Mingjie Lei; baritone Takaoki Onishi; bass-baritone Bradley Smoak; bass Patrick Guetti; and pianist and apprentice coach Mario Antonio Marra.

Rising Stars in Concert is generously sponsored by Lead Sponsor Donna Van Eekeren Foundation and sponsors Ann M. Drake, Sue and Melvin Gray, Howard Family Foundation, Patricia A. Kenney and Gregory J. O’Leary, Susan and Richard P. Kiphart, Chauncey and Marion D. McCormick Family Foundation, Frank B. Modruson and Lynne C. Shigley, and OptumRx.

This concert will also be broadcast on 98.7WFMT and via the following day, Sunday, March 27, at 7p.m. and is generously sponsored by the Donna Van Eekeren Foundation. WFMT’s Lisa Flynn and Lyric dramaturg Roger Pines will serve as host and commentator respectively.


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