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.
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.
William Jewell College
Led by Daniel and Kathleen Belcher, The new Artist Diploma in Voice at William Jewell College builds on a long tradition of vocal excellence, including Cardinalis, the Concert Choir, and the Harriman-Jewell Series. The program incorporates lessons, coachings, one-on-one acting lessons, two fully produced operas from the standard and contemporary American repertoire, and professional seminars led by industry leaders from the Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Minnesota Opera, Florida Grand Opera, New Orleans Opera, Opera Colorado, Glimmerglass Opera, and others. The Artist Diploma program is designed around the individual student’s needs and promises to connect their artistry into the community and beyond. This season, Apprenticeships will begin with the Lyric Opera of Kansas City and Landlocked Opera. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or www.jewell.edu.
2022 – 2023 Apprentice Artists
Aimee Stuart-Flunker, Soprano (UMKC)
Soprano Aimee Stuart-Flunker is a second-year Apprentice Artist with Lyric Opera of Kansas City. She performed in Tosca and The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs in the 2021-2022 season. Her notable roles include Fiordiligi (Così fan tutte), Mimì (La bohème), Gretel (Hansel and Gretel), and First Lady and Papagena (The Magic Flute). Stuart-Flunker received a Master of Music from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a Bachelor of Music from Wheaten College. She is currently pursuing a D.M.A. under the tutelage of Dr. Maria Kanyova.
Alexis Merry, Soprano (UMKC)
Soprano Alexis Merry received an international education living in Italy, England, and Indonesia where she graduated high school with an International Baccalaureate Diploma. She received her B.A. in Music Performance from Pepperdine University and is currently pursuing her M.M. in Music Performance from University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) under the tutelage of Weston Hurt. Notable roles include Elvira (Don Giovanni), Edith (Pirates of Penzance), and Rosalinde (Die Fledermaus). Her most recent performance was Galatea in UMKC Conservatory’s fall production of Acis and Galatea. She is a standing member of Kantorei KC and Interim Worship Director for Country Club United Methodist Church.
Deanna Ray Eberhart, Mezzo-Soprano (KU)
Mezzo-soprano Deanna Ray Eberhart is a first-year Apprentice Artist with Lyric Opera of Kansas City. A native of Kansas City, Missouri, she received a Bachelor of Music from the University of Northern Iowa where she studied with Dr. Jean McDonald. Notable roles include Alidora (Cinderella), Little Buttercup (H.M.S. Pinafore), La Zia Principessa (Suor Angelica), Clorinda (Il Combattimento), and Arsamene (Serse). She is currently pursuing a Master of Music in Voice Performance at the University of Kansas, studying with Joyce Castle.
Maria De Conzo, Mezzo-Soprano (William Jewell College)
Mezzo-soprano Maria Nicole De Conzo is known for her crossover work in opera, musical theater, and contemporary works. She recently debuted at Opera Saratoga as a Young Artist, performing Beggar Woman (Sweeney Todd). In 2022, De Conzo was a Kansas City District Winner of The Metropolitan Opera Laffont Competition. Last season she performed with Landlocked Opera as Miss Todd (The Old Maid and the Thief) and William Jewell College as Marcellina (The Marriage of Figaro) and Elizabeth Cree (Elizabeth Cree). Other notable roles include Madame de la Haltière (Cendrillon), Dolly Levi (Hello Dolly!), Aunt Eller (Oklahoma!), and Mrs. Jones (Street Scene). Maria will perform Grandma Mills in The House Without a Christmas Tree and Charlotte in Werther with William Jewel College this season.
Zachary Devin, Tenor (KU)
Tenor Zachary Devin received degrees in music from Millikin University, Rice University, and the Royal Academy of Music. Devin made his European debut in Budapest as Peter Quint in Britten’s The Turn of the Screw. After years performing abroad, he returned to the states and appeared with Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Nashville Opera, Dayton Opera, Salt Marsh Opera, Winter Opera St. Louis, Gulfshore Opera, and Southern Illinois Music Festival. He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Vocal Pedagogy at the University of Kansas, where he serves as a graduate teaching assistant in the Music Education and Speech Language Hearing departments.
Louis Tiemann, Tenor (William Jewell College)
Tenor Louis Tiemann is a second-year Apprentice Artist with Lyric Opera of Kansas City. He debuted with Opera Saratoga as Anthony (Sweeney Todd) and Fiorello (The Barber of Seville). Tiemann has performed as Count Almaviva (The Marriage of Figaro) and John Cree (Elizabeth Cree) with William Jewell College and covered Steve Jobs in Lyric Opera’s production of The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs. He recently gave the regional premiere of Chihchun Chi-sun Lee’s Sentiments with KC VITAs. Tiemann completed his master’s degree at Bard College where he worked with Stephanie Blythe, Kayo Iwama, Erika Switzer, and Joan Patenaude-Yarnell. In spring 2023, he will earn his Artist Diploma from William Jewell College, studying with baritone Daniel Belcher.