We offer a wide array of educational experiences for people of all ages and opera expertise.

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Apprentice Artist Program

The Apprentice Artist Program offers students valuable experiences in training to become a professional opera singer. Students selected from partner universities have numerous opportunities to gain performance experience through chorus, comprimario and principal roles, and with community outreach and activities.

Lyric Opera has a proven track record of casting Apprentice Artist alumni in leading roles when appropriate. Apprentice Artists have appeared with opera companies around the world, including: Chautauqua Opera, Chicago Opera Theater, Dallas Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, Florida Grand Opera, English National Opera, Glimmerglass Festival, Houston Grand Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Metropolitan Opera, Minnesota Opera, New Israeli Opera, San Diego Opera, San Francisco Opera, Santa Fe Opera, and many others.

Partner Universities

University of Missouri-Kansas City

The UMKC Conservatory/Lyric Opera Apprentice Artist Program is a collaboration between the Conservatory of Music at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and the Lyric Opera of Kansas City. The program prepares the exceptional young singer for a professional operatic career while they are enrolled in a Master’s, Doctoral, Performer’s Certificate or Artist’s Certificate degree program at the Conservatory.

Through UMKC Conservatory, Apprentice Artists will have the opportunity to perform in two fully-staged opera productions per year, along with workshop programs, premieres and outreach activities. For more information, please contact the UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance.

University of Kansas

Building on a history of excellence in training young singers, the University of Kansas, in partnership with Lyric Opera of Kansas City, is proud to offer students the opportunity to join the Apprentice Artist Program. Selected Masters and DMA students combine musical and theatrical training at the university with outstanding career preparation through Lyric Opera. Through the University of Kansas Voice and Opera program, Apprentice Artists have the opportunity to perform in three fully-staged opera productions per year from a wide ranging repertoire. They also attend audition and role preparation classes and master classes with guest artists of international fame. For more information, please contact the KU School of Music – Voice and Opera Department.

2019 – 2020 Apprentice Artists

Kelli Van Meter, sopranoKelli Van Meter, soprano
Kelli Van Meter is scheduled to appear in the choruses of all four mainstage operas and the Explorations programs at Lyric Opera. Previous roles include Alice Ford in Falstaff with Lawrence Opera Theatre; Plaintiff in Trial by Jury with Landlocked Opera; and Gretel in Hansel and Gretel, Rosalinde in Die Fledermaus, Elle in La Voix Humaine and Arminda in La finta giardiniera with UMKC Opera. She will also make her debut with Heartland Opera Theatre in the title role of Suor Angelica in the spring of 2020. Van Meter is pursuing a Doctorate of Musical Arts degree at UMKC.


Thomas DrewThomas Drew, tenor
Thomas Drew is scheduled to appear in all four mainstage opera choruses and both Explorations programs at Lyric Opera this season. Drew has performed as Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni with Moon-Little Theatre; Lensky in Eugene Onegin at Brent Opera; Roderigo in Otello and Malcolm in Macbeth with Blackheath Community Opera; and Nemorino in The Elixir of Love, Don Jose in Carmen, Alfredo in La traviata, and Ferrando in Così fan tutte with Puzzle Piece Opera. Drew studies at UMKC Conservatory with Vinson Cole, and previously studied at Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, Southern Methodist University, and Trinity Laban Conservatory.


Robert H. RiordanRobert H. Riordan, baritone
Robert Riordan is slated to appear in the choruses of all four mainstage operas and in the Explorations programs this season. In Summer 2019, he covered the roles of Almaviva in The Marriage of Figaro and Carl-Magnus in A Little Night Music at Aspen Music Festival. At UMKC Conservatory Opera, Riordan will appear as Norton in La cambiale di matrimonio; other roles include Leporello in Don Giovanni at Varna International Opera, and Junius in The Rape of Lucretia at University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. Riordan holds a Master’s degree from UMKC and a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, both in Music.

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