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A New Program of The Motor City Lyric Opera


Rooted in the belief that all individuals deserve access to beautiful music, Detroit Song Collective is a collective of performers, artists, teachers and musicians whose goal is to reach out to audiences and young talent in the greater Detroit community; to share important pieces of music; and to do so at the highest level. By bringing quality musical performances to students and the community and designing training and outreach programs to assist the development of talented and motivated young artists, Detroit Song Collective will enhance and enrich the lives of its audiences and students.


Music programs in schools have been proven to keep students engaged in the classroom; improve early cognitive development, math and reading skills; develop critical thinking skills; and foster confidence among students. But despite the verified and lasting impact music education has on students, many children in low-income communities still do not have access to it. While Detroit is largely on the rebound, social issues continue to plague the city’s residents, and access to quality education, let alone exposure to music, remains a critical issue facing the community’s future.


Based on a shared belief that the expression of the arts is a humanistic universal right that transcends social and economic boundaries, and should be available to everyone, MCLO has engaged Detroit Song Collective (DSC) to identify opportunities to expand its impact to high school age students. DSC will focus on both high school programs and individual young vocalists from Detroit and greater Southeast Michigan who would benefit most from being exposed to the highest level of artistic music and training.


In an effort to make performances more accessible and meaningful to its audiences, DSC will integrate elements of education into every performance. Each performance will be a collaboration between the musicians and artists onstage, as well as between the performers and the audience. Before each performance, the audience will be given information on the composer/(s), poetry/text and relevant context. After each performance, the audience will be invited to stay for a Q&A period with the performers to continue the conversation about the music they experienced, and how it impacts themselves and the community. The outreach performances in high schools will include a master class led by Dr. Jonathan Lasch and Caitlin Lynch. This is an exceptional and unique opportunity for young students to receive feedback and mentorship from professional singers, free of charge.      


Dr. Jonathan Lasch and Caitlin Lynch are professional singers living in Ferndale, Michigan. Jonathan and Caitlin met in 2006 while singing with Seattle Opera’s Young Artist Program and married in 2010. After living and performing across the U.S. and globally over the past several years, they decided to move back to the Detroit area in 2017 to be closer to family and to collaborate with some of the most talented artists and musicians in the area to bring musical performances of the highest quality to the people of Detroit. Jonathan is a tenure track Professor of Voice at Wayne State University in Detroit and Caitlin continues an exciting and prestigious performing career, singing with some of the best opera companies and orchestras all over the world.

Jonathan Lasch, Founder

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Jonathan Lasch has been described by critics as possessing a voice of “arresting color and heft,” that is “smooth and flexible,” “thrillingly resonant and firm-lined,” a singer able to “balance a big, powerful sound with a light-handed facility with which he makes every note of the fast passagework perfectly clear, and a performer who is a “master of the stage” and “tour de force.” Most recently, Mr. Lasch performed the roles of Sam in Trouble in Tahiti with Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival and Hannah Before in As One with Aepex Contemporary Performance at Kerrytown Concert Hall.  Other recent roles include Leporello in Don Giovanni and Marco in A View from the Bridge with Michigan Opera Theater, Captain Corcoran in H.M.S. Pinafore with Piedmont Opera, Scarpia in Tosca for Opera Saratoga’s Pasta and Puccini Night, Marcello in La bohème with Arbor Opera Theatre and Bar Harbor Music Festival, Masetto in Don Giovanni with Green Mountain Opera Festival, Sharpless in Madama Butterfly with Fargo Moorhead Opera, the title role in Le Nozze di Figaro for Princeton Festival, Papageno in Die Zauberflöte with Master Players Concert Series at University of Delaware and Fargo Moorhead Opera, and Ford in Falstaff with Aspen Opera Theater Center.


An accomplished concert artist, Lasch has sung the premiere of Rene Clausen’s Passion at Minnesota Orchestra Hall, Mozart’s Requiem at Carnegie Hall with Manhattan Concert Productions; Händel’s Messiah with Houston Symphony, Milwaukee Symphony, and Calvin Orotorio Society, Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with Adrian Symphony, Bach’s Ich habe genug with Trinity Lutheran Church Foundation Series; and performances of Fauré’s and Duruflé’s Requiem, Henry Mallicone’s Beatitude Mass, The Creation, The Five Mystical Songs, and Dover Beach with The Emerson String Quartet. He was also featured as a recitalist in Spain (Leon, Salamanca, Soria, and Baiona La Real).  Mr. Lasch will sing his first performances of Orff’s Carmina Burana this season with Adrian Symphony in May and Wayne State University Ensembles at Orchestra Hall in Detroit in March.


While earning an Artist Diploma in Opera at University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music, Jonathan’s roles included the title role in Verdi’s Falstaff, Melisso in Alcina, Shrike in the Midwest première of Lowell Liebermann’s Miss Lonelyhearts, and Marcello in La bohème. Mr. Lasch performed Ford in Falstaff and Escamillo in La tragédie de Carmen with Seattle Opera’s Young Artist Program and Tarquinius in The Rape of Lucretia with Portland Opera.  Jonathan was a Glimmerglass Opera Young American Artist for two summers where he performed Achilla in Giulio Cesare, and covered Scarpia in Tosca and Friedrich in Wagner’s comic opera Das Liebesverbot.


Mr. Lasch was fortunate to learn from some of the best training programs in the United States, having participated in the Young Artist Programs at Glimmerglass Opera, Seattle Opera, Portland Opera, Chautauqua Opera, Connecticut Opera and the Aspen Opera Center. Dr. Lasch holds Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from The Hartt School at University of Hartford, an Artist Diploma in Opera from The University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and a Doctorate of Musical Arts at The University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre, and Dance.  Through these programs he was able to study with some of the foremost baritone pedagogues of today, including; William McGraw, Stephen Lusmann, Stephen King, Mark Oswald and Mark Schneible, as well as ‘Breath Specialist’ Deb Birnbaum and renowned Wagnerian soprano, Jane Eaglen. Dr. Lasch has taught voice at Concordia College in Moorhead, MN, Adrian College, University of Michigan, and will return to Wayne State University in Detroit as Assistant Professor and Coordinator of Voice this coming school year. Jonathan enjoys living in Ferndale, Michigan with his wife and three kids.

Caitlin Lynch, Founder

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Declared “luminous” by the New York Times and “eloquent” by the Wall Street Journal, soprano Caitlin Lynch is captivating audiences with her portrayals of iconic leading ladies. With a repertoire that encompasses Mozart to Verdi and Handel to Heggie, Ms. Lynch brings her dynamic portrayals of both classic and contemporary operas to stages around the world.


This season, the soprano returned to the Metropolitan Opera to sing the Countess in Le nozze di Figaro, a role she also performed with Palm Beach Opera. Other assignments during the season at the Metropolitan Opera include covers of the First Lady in Die Zauberflöte. She also appeared with the Mostly Modern Festival as the soprano soloist in Robert Paterson’s Walt’s America. Future seasons include a debut with San Diego Opera and a return to the Seiji Ozawa Music Academy in Japan. Last season brought two major debuts for Ms. Lynch: with English National Opera for Donna Anna in Don Giovanni, and Micaëla in Carmen, conducted by Seiji Ozawa at his Music Academy. The soprano also returned to the stage of the Metropolitan Opera as Pamina in The Magic Flute, and Utah Opera for Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni. In concert, she joined the St. Louis Symphony for Mozart’s Requiem. During the 2015-2016 season, Ms. Lynch appeared as The Countess in Le nozze di Figaro with Seattle Opera, returned to The Metropolitan Opera for Le nozze di Figaro and Die Entführung aus dem Serail, and sang Violetta in La traviata with Chautauqua Opera. On the concert stage, she sang Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with Seattle Symphony, Dvořák’s Stabat Mater with Omaha Symphony, and Händel’s Messiah with Calvin Oratorio Society.


Ms. Lynch made her Metropolitan Opera début performing Biancofiore in Zandonai’s Francesca da Rimini and returned as Cynthia in Nico Muhly’s world-première production of Two Boys, as well as their new production of Le nozze di Figaro. Additional recent engagements include: the role of Yadwiga in the world première of Ben Moore’s Enemies, a Love Story at Palm Beach Opera, Marguerite in Faust at Michigan Opera Theatre, Violetta in La Traviata with Arizona Opera and Des Moines Metro Opera; and a return to the Spoleto Festival USA as the Soprano Soloist in John Adams’ El Niño. Concert engagements include Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with Seattle Symphony, Orff’s dramatic cantata Carmina Burana with Seattle Symphony, Milwaukee Symphony, and Alabama Symphony, Ein Deutsches Requiem with the Grant Park Music Festival, and Händel’s Messiah at Pacific Symphony and Milwaukee Symphony.


Ms. Lynch received international acclaim for creating the role of Eliza in Nico Muhly’s new chamber opera, Dark Sisters, which premiered at the Gotham Chamber Opera in New York with subsequent performances at the Opera Company of Philadelphia. She is known for her dynamic interpretation of new music, and has also worked closely with composers such as Jake Heggie, who engaged her to sing the world première of his new song cycle, Another Sunrise, commissioned by Music of Remembrance in Seattle. This led to two world-première performances of commissions by Jake Heggie with Music of Remembrance entitled Out of Darkness and Farewell, Auschwitz!


In her signature role of Countess Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro, which she has performed with the Glimmerglass Opera, Lyric Opera Baltimore, Michigan Opera, and Opera Lyra Ottawa, critics touted “Time stands still when Caitlin Lynch sings. Her honeyed tone and sweetness of expression as Countess Almaviva goes straight to the heart.”

Ms. Lynch completed the Seattle Opera Young Artist Program and Glimmerglass Opera’s Young Artist Program. Caitlin has a Bachelor of Music from University of Michigan and a Master of Music from The University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music.

Sonia Lee, Director of Strings

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Violinist Sonia Lee made her solo concerto debut under Maestro Semyon Bychkov with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. At age 15, Sonia entered the Juilliard School where she studied with Paul Kantor, Masao Kawasaki, and Dorothy Delay. Sonia won the International Violin position with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra at age 21 under the direction of Maestro Gunther Herbig. At age 23, Sonia won the Principal 2nd Violin position under the direction of Jukka Pekka Saraste. She led the second violin section in recordings of Prokofiev, Dutilleux, Rachmaninoff, Rimsky Korsakov, and was invited to perform as a soloist with the orchestra performing Arvo Part’s Tabula Rasa with violinist Mark Skazinetsky, Assistant Concertmaster of the Toronto Symphony. The Toronto Star hailed her as “…a real find for the orchestra.” The Globe and Mail described her violin playing as “…achieving a beatific state” in her performances.


Sonia Lee graduated from the Juilliard School in New York. Prior to Juilliard, Sonia was selected for the Taos School of Music where she was the youngest violin student to be accepted into the program under the American String Quartet, Violist Michael Tree, and Pianist Robert McDonald. She also flew every weekend to study at the Pre-College program at Juilliard. She also studied composition. While in high school, she made her N.Y. Solo concerto debut with the New York Chamber Symphony Orchestra under Gerard Schwarts at the 92nd Street Y.


Sonia’s string quartet, the Millay String Quartet formed while students at The Juilliard School. They were featured guest chamber musicians at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall, Paul Recital Hall, and at the MOMA Museum Concert for Young Artists, along with the IBM Concert Series in New York City. Her recent chamber music performances include a World Premiere of “HOPE DIES LAST” composed by Alexandra du Bois for the Detroit Chamber Winds & Strings in commemoration of the centenary of the Armenian Genocide at The Detroit Institute of Arts. Sonia substituted for Violinist Ida Kavafian at the Macomb Center for the Arts performances.


At age 23, Sonia was the founder of the Yellowstone Music Festival, in Bozeman, Montana. She started the chamber music festival with her friends and colleagues, Gil Shaham, Midori, Robert Chen, Concertmaster of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and The Ahn Trio. All the chamber music concerts sold out in the inaugural season. Members of her Advisory Board include Yo-Yo Ma, Dr. Joseph Polisi, President of The Juilliard School, Ted Turner of CNN, and Violinist Cho Liang Lin.


Sonia is an award winning film composer. She has written scores for many directors including the movie, RAISED ALONE, directed by SAM KADI. The film received critical acclaim and was awarded several nominations and awards for the Sundance and New York Film Festivals. Sonia has also composed music for the upcoming 2018 Winter Olympics in Seoul, Korea.

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