Lindsay Metzger didn’t realize that opera was a career path she could take before her time at DePaul. Metzger, who graduated in 2010, was a vocal performance major during her time at DePaul.
On Saturday, thanks in part to her education at DePaul and her hard work and dedication to her craft, she starred as Mercedes in the Lyric Opera House’s production of “Carmen.”
Metzger saw her first opera while still a student at DePaul and became immersed in the operatic community in Chicago soon after.
“All freshmen had to go and see performances,” Metzger said. “I was absorbing as much as I could. It opened a new world for me that I didn’t know existed. I never realized I could make it a career before that. Opera chose me in that way.”
Metzger said her performance was a “funny circle of life moment.” From the time she graduated from DePaul to now, she has been working in the field and learning various roles that have helped her progress. She reflected on her experiences and what’s led her to the current moment in her career.
Mercedes is one of Carmen’s closest friends and confidants besides Frasquita. The premiere performance drew a large crowd to watch the opera comique — an opera with musical numbers separated by dialogue.
The characters each gave enchanting performances that united to make a vibrant show. “Carmen” has been performed for over a century in cities around the world.
Learning a role like Mercedes, as well as the many others she’s gotten to play since graduating, required a discipline Metzger feels she learned at DePaul.
She had to take no less than 18 credit hours per quarter and it was this busyness that helped her prepare for the roles she’s getting now.
After finishing her bachelor’s degree at DePaul, Metzger went on to get a master’s degree in opera from UW-Madison. After that she joined the Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center, which serves as an apprentice program of opera singers. James Byrne, manager for the center, said the school serves as a finishing school to help people learn how to perform on large stages.
“The Ryan gives a taste of being in a house ensemble, and performers might be in rehearsal for two or three operas at a time,” Byrne said. “It’s all about finding your niche. Each voice is unique. Each requires a different time period to grow, but that’s part of what makes it interesting.”
The Ryan has helped Metzger refine her niche and have also helped her build on what she learned at DePaul and UW-Madison. Students often have to be prepared for anything from two to eight shows.
The massive workload can also include improv classes and language classes — since many operas are in French, Italian or German.
The program, as well as being in Chicago and going to DePaul, has opened an immense amount of doors for her and allowed Metzger to commit to her artistry, something she’s thankful she’s been able to do.
“You never know until you try,” Metzger said. “In college, you get out of it what you put into it. When you love what you do, your passion becomes your work.”