Meet Runner and Opera Star, Lisette Oropesa

Photo credit to: Michael Brosilow

Lyric Opera of Chicago is currently running The Daughter of the Regiment (a French comedy), starring Lisette Oropesa as Marie, the leading role. There are still tickets available for the remaining performances so make sure to book your tickets today before the opera leaves our city.

Lisette, aside from leading roles at major opera houses worldwide, is also a devoted runner who has completed at least 6 marathons and is an advocate for health and fitness. I had the opportunity to speak with Lisette to learn more about how she combines running with her demanding career, and how she stays healthy as she travels around the world.

Lisette began running 2011 and, like many of us, slowly fell in love with the sport. “All my life I’ve been very unfit and a terrible athlete,” she explained. “But running, little by little, won my heart.”

Lisette further explained how incorporating running into her life benefited her vocal performances. “At first I had to build up endurance and that took several months. I had to work on my technique, my breathing, and my mental fortitude. After getting serious about wanting to be physically able to run comfortably, I started to keep track of how I was feeling, what I was eating, how much I slept, and my mood and voice quality. It was incredible the correlation of how my physical activity helped me get better in touch with my voice on an intimate level. The body really talks!”

Photo credit to Lisette Oropesa

Lisette has tackled six marathons and a dozen half marathons since she began running and hopes to run the Chicago Marathon one day. In 2015 she ran the Pittsburgh Marathon the morning after starring in an opera, with standing-ovation-to-marathon-time just over 12 hours.

As Lisette pointed out, it is so imperative to listen to your body, especially as you dial up mileage and expectations on your race day outcomes. This becomes increasingly more important when her performance schedule becomes demanding.

“I have cut way back on distance as my performance schedule has ramped up,” she explained. “But it is still my favorite type of running to have in my life, and truly my sweet spot.  I think the mental experience of a long run is unmatchable by anything just quick and short.  But I still get out there as often as possible because being outside and in the fresh air is still amazing.”

For Lisette a demanding performance schedule also means traveling to new places and challenging herself with new running routes. I asked her for tips on traveling and staying active. “The best thing to do is to not get too set on a time or schedule. Any run is better than no run. But don’t beat yourself up if there’s too much going on. Know that once your travel days are up, you’ll get to run on fresh terrain, and that’s always exciting.”

Photo credit to: Michael Brosilow

This is great advice for our Chicago athletes who find themselves traveling this holiday season. We all know that staying active helps reduce stress and maintain a sense of control over our minds and bodies. This can be especially important as schedules become more chaotic through the holidays.

Lisette is enjoying her time in Chicago and noted that she enjoys running on the Lakefront Trail and around Millenium Park. “I love the architecture and just walking around my neighborhood where I’m staying in the North Shore area is so lovely.  Especially around the chocolate factory, where the smell travels!  I’ve even smelled the chocolate outside the opera house! Chicago is wonderful and I do hope to be back many more times! Thank you to the amazing locals who are so very nice and welcoming.”

You can still grab tickets to see Lisette perform at Lyric Opera this fall. This the first time the show has come to Chicago and we are so thankful for the opportunity that has been brought to our community. And, with a fellow runner taking the lead, we know it’s going to be amazing!


Lyric Opera of Chicago is delighted to bring this production of Donizetti’s The Daughter of the Regiment — bel canto opera’s equivalent of vintage champagne — to the city for the first time. Marie, the lovable, irrepressible spirited heroine — a foundling, raised by soldiers — loves handsome Tonio. Things get complicated when the Marquise carts her off to refine her with a “proper” education. In one exhilarating number after another, Marie throws off coloratura flourishes like shooting stars, while her tenor sweetheart pops out nine high Cs in a single aria! Bel canto superstar Lawrence Brownlee and comedic veteran Alessandro Corbelli partner with the dazzling Lisette Oropesa in her eagerly awaited Lyric debut. The marvelously stylish Speranza Scappucci conducts Laurent Pelly’s quick-witted, uproarious production. Lyric Opera Website


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here