Award-winning Opera Singer and Millikin University Alum Phillip Lopez ’16 Returns to Campus for Artist Residency

His week on campus culminates with a performance in “Opera Valentine” at the Albert Taylor Theatre on Feb. 9.

DECATUR, Ill. – In the time since Millikin University alum Phillip Lopez ’16 completed his Vocal Music Performance degree, he has built an impressive resume of awards and memorable performances on the stage. 

Lopez holds two Master’s Degrees – one in Opera Performance from Wichita State University and a second in Opera from Yale University -- and was honored with the 2022 Millikin Young Alumnus Award. As a bass-baritone on the stage, Lopez won the 2023-24 Metropolitan Opera Laffont Competition (Iowa District), an award designed to discover promising young opera singers and assist in the development of their careers. 

Phillip Lopez
Millikin alum Phillip Lopez '16 will perform in "Opera Valentine" on Feb. 9.

Next for Lopez is a return to Millikin’s campus as an Artist in Residency from Feb. 5-9, where he will share his musical knowledge and performance expertise with students from the School of Music

“I am delighted to return to campus after eight years away. The campus will be completely different from how I remember it in 2016, and I am excited to explore all the new accommodations that students use and to connect with a few old faces that helped guide my education,” Lopez said. “My biggest goal (during my time at Millikin) is to impart my relevant experience from the past eight years to aid in what students are investigating now. I hope that the students ask a lot of questions.”

Lopez’s week on campus culminates at Albert Taylor Theatre on Friday, Feb. 9, at 7:30 p.m. with an evening of love, song, and drama. Lopez joins the Millikin Opera Theatre for a magical journey through the trials and triumphs of romantic love in “Opera Valentine,” which showcases opera classics, including pieces from “Oklahoma,” “South Pacific,” “Don Giovanni,” and “Carmen.” Millikin Voice Instructor Aubrey Hawkinson directs the performance. 

Albert Taylor Theatre
Albert Taylor Theatre.

“I am thrilled to return to Albert Taylor Theatre as it has always been the venue for our operatic productions from 2012 to 2016. I have fond memories of long rehearsal nights and performances in four productions spanning the vocal music genre from J.S. Bach’s ‘Sacred and Secular Cantatas’ to Puccini’s ‘Gianni Schicchi,’” Lopez said. “I’m also reminded of all the School of Theatre and Dance productions that were so intimate and dynamic. There should be several surprises with how Opera Valentine is staged, so I hope the audience will delight in how close they are to our performance.”
“Opera Valentine” features some of Lopez’s favorite operatic works, some of which he has been perfecting for over a decade.  

“Opera and music theatre are dynamic genres that require intense preparation and study. I have been studying some songs in ‘Opera Valentine’ for more than 10 years. I am looking forward to collaborating with Millikin faculty and students who will bring their rich and diverse experiences to a very busy week of work and discovery,” Lopez said. “There are several showstoppers, but my favorite selection is ‘Some Enchanted Evening’ from ‘South Pacific.’ A true delight will be to collaborate with students and highlight their performances in solo and ensemble repertoire.”

Opera Valentine

February 9 | 7:30pm

Albert Taylor Theatre in Shilling Hall

Tickets — $10

Available at or by calling the Ticket Office: 217.424.6318. Discounted tickets, as well as accessible seats, are not available online but can be purchased at the ticket office. 

To arrange media coverage, contact Millikin University Public Relations Coordinator Matthew Flaten at 217.420.6636 or

About Albert Taylor Theatre

Albert Taylor Theatre has served as the main stage for many Millikin University activities from the opening of the University in 1903 to the present. In the Spring of 2006, the theatre was reopened after the completion of an initial phase of remodeling. In honor of that reopening, the University Archives Spring 2006 exhibit was dedicated to the history of that great hall. This 269-seat auditorium is located in historic Shilling Hall and holds annual productions by the Millikin University School of Theatre & Dance, School of Music, and Opera Program, as well as a variety of lectures, classes, and rehearsals.