Ryan Opera Center Announces 2023-24 Ensemble Members

By Francisco Salazar

The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center has announced the 12 singers who have been selected for its 2023-24 Ensemble.

The Opera Center said that Mezzo-sopranos Lucy Baker and Sophia Maekawa, tenor Travon D. Walker, and bass-baritone Christopher Humbert, Jr., will join eight returning singers of the Ensemble: sopranos Kathryn Henry and Lindsey Reynolds, tenors Ryan Capozzo and Alejandro Luévanos, baritones Laureano Quant and Ian Rucker, and basses Ron Dukes and Wm. Clay Thompson were selected.

The opera center, which is the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s young artist program, saw more than 400 singers apply for consideration with video recordings. After a thorough review, selected singers were invited to live preliminary auditions throughout the summer, resulting in invitations to a small group to sing on Sept. 20. The Final Auditions were attended by an invited audience of more than 550 Lyric subscribers and donors, who also participated in voting for the Audience Favorite Award. The award and $500 cash prize went to soprano Shelén Hughes.

The 2023-24 Ensemble singers will begin their tenure in Spring 2023 and will receive advanced instruction in numerous aspects of operatic performance, including voice lessons and language coaching, movement and acting training, and master classes with some of opera’s most renowned artists. They will also participate in Lyric’s mainstage season, performing and understudying a variety of roles, in addition to performing at Ryan Opera Center concerts and recitals throughout the Chicago community.

Current Ryan Opera Center Ensemble members who will depart at the conclusion of the 2022-23 season include soprano Denis Vélez, mezzo-soprano Katherine DeYoung, and tenors Martin Luther Clark and Lunga Eric Hallam.