Best Opera Singer

Critics' Picks


Amber Wagner

amberwagnersoprano.com

I first heard soprano Amber Wagner on a warm September night in 2007, performing in a Stars of Lyric Opera revue at the Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park. She was starting a three-year stint in the training program at Lyric’s Ryan Opera Center at the time. There aren’t any bad singers at the Ryan Center, but she sang at another level entirely. Her stunningly rich and powerful voice made an indelible impression—the Tribune’s classical music critic, John von Rhein, sitting behind me, was moved to exclaim, “She’s got the goods!”

A Ryan alum now, her ability to thrill remains intact. She’ll leave Chicago at the end of the summer but return in March to take a leading role in a couple performances of Lyric’s Lohengrin. After that, the world.