House of Music

Paul Versluis

It’s rock-around-the clock in the music-rich world of Michella Stiles, MD—or perhaps jazz, classical, opera or even the stylized rhythms of hip-hop to pump up a brisk morning workout.

Everyone who encounters Stiles comes into contact with a colorful universe of music. An anesthesiologist, Stiles totes an iPod loaded with an eclectic mix of tunes into surgery. Her 17- and 11-year-old daughters have grown up with Stiles’ passion for a steady diet of music to accompany everything—studying, getting ready for school, driving to activities, relaxing at the end of the day. Even her husband Michael, an ophthalmologist and former member of Notre Dame’s famed drumline, is the recipient of custom-made playlists.

“Music is the cheapest therapy in the world,” says Stiles. “It’s one of your senses.”

A member of the Lyric Opera Circle, Stiles is chairman of the 2012 Lyric Opera Ball, which is slated for an April 20 debut at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in Brandmeyer Great Hall. The grand ball’s theme is the “Wonderful Wizard of Opera,” playing off the well-loved and oft-interpreted story of Oz. This year’s ball marks the 26th annual event that raises funds as part of the Lyric’s operating budget. More than $10.5 million in time and dollars has been generated during the past quarter century, helping to continue the Lyric’s tradition of bringing opera to the KC stage and sponsoring myriad programs for young people throughout the metropolitan area.

“Being able to give Kansas City the experience of world-class opera is so vital to our culture,” says Stiles. “And now that the Lyric has been married to the superlative architecture of the Kauffman Center, we’re on an entirely new level of excellence.”

ARTS ALIVE: “Kansas City supports the arts in a big way. People are committed to continually raising the bar.”

MAGIC BUS: “To see the lines of yellow buses lined up outside the Kauffman Center is thrilling—the school kids bouncing off them, excited for what’s waiting inside the stunning halls.”

STANDING OVATION: “The Lyric Opera, with its performances, camps, and programs for children, is an impressive point of entry into the genre.”

FOLLOW THE YELLOW BRICK ROAD: “I love where the city is in arts development…and where we’re going.”

For more information on the 2012 Lyric Opera Ball and to find out more about the organization’s school and community outreach programs, visit

Categories: People