Lyric Theatre @ Illinois

Comprehensive training for the singing actor

Nathan Gunn, Co-director of Lyric Theater Studies
Julie Jordan Gunn, Co-director of Lyric Theater Studies
Sarah Wigley, Resident Director
Michael Tilley, Musical Administrator
Dawn Harris, Resident Director
Rebecca Nettl-Fiol, Dance at Illinois liaison
Tom Mitchell, Theater at Illinois liaison

Learn more about Lyric Theatre here

Lyric Theatre @ Illinois is a comprehensive program embracing a broad continuum of opera and musical theatre to reflect the artistic demands of the 21st-century musical stage, on which performers must exhibit the highest standards of singing, acting and movement.

The Lyric Theatre Program mounts three fully staged productions of musical theatre and opera each year, performed in our outstanding opera house at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, the Tryon Festival Theatre, and several studio, scenes, and workshop programs.

The student has additional performance opportunities in Studio where scenes and shorter works are presented to teach acting, movement, and role preparation. Studio offers performance opportunities for both undergraduate and graduate students, in a wide range of styles, from classical musical theatre to bel canto opera, from contemporary to Baroque. We emphasize vocal and physical health. Champaign-Urbana is home to many practitioners of the Alexander Technique, in which dancers, actors, and musicians are taught individually and in groups.

Illinois boasts one of the best performing arts libraries in the world, superb academic resources, and the world-class Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, which has hosted dozens of internationally renowned performers, including Renée Fleming, Cecilia Bartoli, and Frederica von Stade.

Alumni include Nathan Gunn, Jerry Hadley, Erie Mills, Kallen Esperian, Eric Halfvarson, Craig Rutenberg, and current members of the young artists' programs at San Francisco Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, and more.

What can an undergraduate studying lyric theatre at Illinois expect?

  • to perform regularly
  • to have opportunities to sing a variety of styles of music
  • to be taught to use the body and voice in a healthy manner
  • to learn from dedicated teachers and top industry professionals
  • to receive excellent career advice suited to his or her talents
  • to be in a friendly, supportive environment with opportunities to engage with the professional world

The UI School of Music is proud to have hosted many world-class artists, teachers, and opera directors for master classes and residencies.

They include Stephanie Blythe, mezzo-soprano; Daniel Catán, composer; Richard Croft, tenor; Michelle DeYoung, mezzo-soprano; Brian Dickie, Chicago Opera Theater; Elizabeth Futral, soprano; Ricky Ian Gordon, composer; Nancy Gustafson, Castleton Festival; Jake Heggie, composer; Ursula K. Le Guin, novelist; Matthew Polenzani, tenor; Caroline Woodfield, Opus 3 Artists' Management; Isabel Leonard, Lucy Shaufer, and Francesca Zambello, Washington National Opera and Glimmerglass Opera.

For Prospective Students

Choral Music
Dance at Illinois
Department of Theatre