With the best opera singers booked years in advance, getting soprano Ailyn Peréz for Lyric Opera of Chicago’s new production of Gounod’s “Faust” — just weeks before it opened — proved challenging.

Peréz, who grew up in Elk Grove Village and now lives in Bloomingdale, had to cancel engagements in Munich and Hamburg to take over the role of Marguerite after Ryan Opera Center alumna Erin Wall withdrew last month for health reasons.

“I thought that this would be too good to pass up,” said Ailyn (pronounced I-lean) Peréz. “We reached out to the other theaters and they were very understanding about my eagerness to sing in my hometown.”

Peréz has a full list of singing honors ranging from the 2012 Richard Tucker Award to the 2016 Beverly Sills Award. So it’s surprising that Peréz made her Lyric debut only last year in a concert honoring world-famous singer/conductor Plácido Domingo.

“Faust” marks Peréz’s first time starring in a fully staged Lyric production. She performed the title role of Massenet’s “Thaïs” last year at the Metropolitan Opera in a production that debuted at the Lyric in 2003, and she’s eager to work again with “Thaïs” conductor Emmanuel Villaume for “Faust.”

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Image: Cory Weaver / Lyric Opera of Chicago