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Star soprano launches opera season at Loyola University New Orleans

Loyola press release - September 1, 2016

Greek soprano Irini Kyriakidou performs and teaches master classes at Loyola, joined by alumnus and opera star Bryan Hymel

Greek soprano Irini Kyriakidou launches the opera season at Loyola University New Orleans next week, with an evening performance joined by beloved Loyola alumnus and international opera star tenor Bryan Hymel ’01 and accompaniment on piano by Loyola Assistant Professor of Voice Dreux Montegut. Earlier in the week, the opera stars will teach free master classes at Loyola. All events are free and open to the public.

“Being able to work with international opera stars of this caliber is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for many professional singers, and yet Loyola University New Orleans is able to introduce this possibility to undergraduate students in the College of Music and Fine Arts at a wonderful time in their training,” said Carol Rausch, director of the Loyola Opera Theatre. “Whether they are professional opera singers or just beginning their careers with big aspirations, Loyola students and New Orleans metropolitan area residents will be exposed through next week’s performance and these master classes to world-class international stars.”

The pair performs “An Evening with Irini Kyriakidou” at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 9, 2016 at Loyola University New Orleans, 6363 St. Charles Ave. The concert, which is part of the university’s acclaimed Montage Fine and Performing Arts series, will be performed in Louis J. Roussel Performance Hall, located in Loyola’s Music and Communications complex, entrance at the corner of Calhoun Street and St. Charles Avenue. The concert is free and open to the public. Seats are first-come, first-served.

Irini Kyriakidou will teach a master class at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016 in Nunemaker Auditorium, Monroe Hall. Bryan Hymel will teach a master class at 2 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 8, 2016, also in Nunemaker Auditorium, Monroe Hall. Both classes are free and open to the public.

“The master classes offered at Loyola are an opportunity for both Loyola students and area residents to hear and learn firsthand from some of the world’s best top artists,” said Dreux Montegut, assistant professor of voice at Loyola. “Irini Kyriakidou and Bryan Hymel will through these master classes engage with Loyola students and area residents, share personal and professional experiences, and provide coaching on unique aspects of their own performance styles. Through this exciting opportunity, Loyola students and area residents will glean training tips from top opera stars — nuggets of information that they will never forget and may incorporate into their own training and performances.”

Greek soprano Irini Kyriakidou continues to showcase her virtuosic vocal talents with opera companies and symphony orchestras throughout the United States and Europe. In the 2014/15 season, she appeared as Micaela in New Orleans Opera’s production of Carmen, and made her debut with the Royal Opera House in Muscat, Oman for a special New Year's Eve concert featuring the Prague Philharmonia.

A native of Greece, Kyriakidou was seen as Lauretta in Gianni Schicchi and Zerlina in Don Giovanni with the Greek National Opera. A graduate of the International Opera Studio at Opernhaus Zürich, she performed as Pamina for the IOS production of Die Zauberflöte. Kyriakidou studied at the Maria Callas Conservatory of Athens under Marina Krilovici. Under the baton of Riccardo Muti, she performed as Cherinto in Demfoonte in her debuts with the Opéra national de Paris and the Ravenna Festival. A graduate of the International Opera Studio at Opernhaus Zürich, she performed as Pamina for the IOS production of Die Zauberflöte. Kyriakidou studied at the Maria Callas Conservatory of Athens under Marina Krilovici.

Hymel, who made his Metropolitan Opera debut when he stepped in as a last-minute replacement in its production of “Les Troyens,” is one of the fastest-rising tenor stars in the opera world. Hymel’s recent seasons have brought debuts and return engagements at the world’s most accomplished opera houses and festivals. One of the opera world’s fastest-rising stars, Bryan Hymel continues to perform leading repertoire in the music capitals of the world. His 2015-2016 season brings a number of debuts throughout the United States and Europe.

Among his many accolades, Hymel is the winner of the 2013 Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in Opera; the Metropolitan Opera’s Beverly Sills Artist Award in 2012. The New Orleans native is the Top Prize Winner of the 2009 Gerda Lissner Foundation Competition and was the First Prize Winner of the 2008 Licia Albanese/Puccini Foundation Competition, the 2008 Loren L. Zachary Vocal Competition, and the 2008 Giulio Gari Foundation Competition. He was a grand finalist in the 2000 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. An exclusive recording artist for Warner Classics, his first solo album Héroïque debuted at number 3 on the Billboard Classical Music chart, and earned Hymel the coveted Georges Thill Prize by the Académie Nationale du Disque Lyrique and the Newcomer of the Year Award from ECHO Klassik.

“At Loyola University New Orleans, we are both training musicians of the future and educating music audiences of the future,” said Anthony Decuir, interim dean of the College of Music and Fine Arts. “Our hope is that by exposing our students and the greater New Orleans community to top-caliber artists through the acclaimed Montage Fine and Performing Arts series, we are not only providing our students incredible opportunity, but renewing and reinvigorating New Orleans’ appreciation for opera and classical music, as we advance and continue the cherished 300-year musical tradition of New Orleans.