Lyric Opera of Chicago names dynamic
Italian conductor Enrique Mazzola as Lyric’s next music director
Mazzola is only the third person to serve in this role at Lyric following Sir Andrew Davis, who celebrates his 20th year at the helm and will complete his tenure with Lyric’s 2020|21 season, formally "passing the baton" to Mazzola for the 2021|22 season
As general director, president & CEO Anthony Freud announc-ed today, big changes are under-way at Lyric Opera of Chicago. Acclaimed and beloved music director Sir Andrew Davis
plans to conclude his twodecade-long tenure at the end of the 2020/21 season. Eminent Italian conductor Enrique Mazzola
has been named as Lyric’s music director designate, effective immediately, and will become Lyric’s music director beginning with the 2021|22 season. As Davis continues his substantial responsibilities while overseeing the transition, Mazzola looks forward to his role in leading Lyric through the next, dynamic chapter of the iconic company’s journey.
Mazzola and Davis joined Freud in the theater for announcement
at the Lyric Opera House. Mean-while, Davis is preparing to conduct Rossini’s The Barber of Seville to open Lyric’s 65th season on Sept. 28, and Mazzola will begin rehearsals next week for Verdi’s early masterpiece,
Luisa Miller, which opens Oct. 12.
As Sir Andrew Davis enters his 20th season as Lyric’s music director and principal conductor, Freud notes, "Sir Andrew is on the podium for an astonishing six operas: The Barber of Seville, Tchaikovsky’s The Queen of Spades, and the four operas of our new Ring cycle. Since I came to Lyric in 2011, we have collaborated on an incredible two-dozen operas, nearly half of them new productions including one world premiere, not to mention several outstanding concerts
"Andrew’s contribution to opera in Chicago, and internationally, is immeasurable, and we all have much to anticipate over the next two years. I look forward to continuing our collaboration in the future."
Says Davis, "I had actually intended to leave after the Ring
cycles next spring, until Anthony persuaded me to stay for one more season! It will be hard to leave, but the timing is right for me and I am confident that Enrique will be a splendid music director for Lyric. I am greatly looking forward to working closely with him over the next two years. He’s a fine musician and someone who will continue the tradition of the Lyric Opera family. It’s fantastic to have two years together for our transition.
"Lyric has been my artistic and personal home for more than two decades, and I couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunities that I enjoyed here, professionally
and personally. It continues to be a joy to work with magnificent
orchestra and chorus on such a wide range of repertoire, and to join forces with so many brilliant singers and directors in bringing great opera to the Lyric stage."
Just prior to returning to Chicago in late August, Davis led a triumphant performance of
Götterdämmerung at the Edinburgh Festival (with the stars of Lyric’s upcoming new production, Christine Goerke and Burkhard Fritz, in the leading roles).
Over the course of more than three decades, to date Davis has conducted 674 opera performances at Lyric, plus nine special concerts at the opera house, and the majority of Lyric’s free concerts in Millennium Park.
The vast repertoire that he has led at Lyric encompasses operas by Berg, Berlioz, Bizet, Britten, Dvořák, Gilbert & Sullivan, Gounod, Janáček, Lehár, López, Massenet, Mozart, Mussorgsky, Poulenc, Puccini, Rossini, Strauss, Tchaikovsky, Verdi, Wagner, and Weinberg.
Widely recognized as one of today’s foremost interpreters and champions of bel canto opera and a leading specialist in French repertoire and early Verdi,
Enrique Mazzola is in high demand worldwide as both an operatic and symphonic conductor. He is principal guest conductor at Deutsche Oper Berlin, and until recently served as artistic and music director of the Orchestre National d’Île-de-France (ONDIF) in Paris. In recognition of his significant contribution to musical life in France, Mazzola was made a
Chevalier de l'ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government in October 2018.
His arrival in Chicago follows his recent return to New York’s Metropolitan Opera for a spring production of La fille durégiment
and his back-to-back summer engagements in Austria. He led a "phenomenal, monumental"
Rigoletto (Opern magazine, Germany) at the Bregenz Festival and made his Salzburg Festival debut in August, conducting the Vienna Philharmonic in a new staging of Offenbach’s Orpheus in the Underworld that marked his first collaboration with director Barrie Kosky.
Following the performances of Luisa Miller at Lyric Oct. 12-31, Mazzola’s 2019|20 season includes his return to the Zurich Opera House (Don Pasquale, new production), Vienna Symphony Orchestra for concerts at the Musikverein and Bregenz Festival, Deusche Oper Berlin (Meyerbeer’s Le prophète and Dinorah), Orchestre Symphonique de Québec, Glyndebourne Festival Opera (L’elisir d’amore), Taiwan Philharmonic, and symphonic concerts in Germany. Future plans include his return to London Philharmonic, both in London and on tour in Europe.
In addition to his extensive conducting roster, Mazzola is the first international brand ambassador of Tuscany’s Consorzio del Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, promoting the culture of Vino Nobile and the surrounding Montepulciano wine region in Italy and abroad. It’s an area he knows well, having served as artistic director of Cantiere Internazionale d’Arte in Montepulciano from 1999 to 2003. As Mazzola told Chicago Wine Journal in 2016, "The life of an ambassador is never being at home. That’s basically true of a conductor, as well." Mazzola has promoted Vino Nobile whenever the opportunity arises, offering insights into the region, its history, and its wine production.
"I am so looking forward to working closely with Anthony in my new role as music director at Lyric starting in 2021, and to working with both Anthony and Sir Andrew as music director designate during the transition period," says Mazzola. "Anthony has made me feel very much like part of the Lyric Opera family from the beginning, and our working relationship is always an excellent collaboration."
Mazzola says he felt "love at first sight for Chicago amore a prima vista, as we say in Italian," and has enjoyed exploring the city’s neighborhoods, restaurants, and cultural attractions. "I got to know everything you can discover by walking through the Loop, the Gold Coast, Chinatown, what remains of Little Italy," he recalls. "I did what every tourist should do the architectural tour, the Art Institute, the Chicago Symphony, and some rooftop bars after some shows.
Lyric Opera of Chicago
20 N. Wacker Drive
Chicago, IL 60606