Lyric Opera hires new music director

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Enrique Mazzola. Photo by Jean-Baptiste Millot.

Eminent Italian conductor Enrique Mazzola has been named as Lyric Opera’s music director designate and will become Lyric’s music director beginning with the 2021-’22 season. The transition will be overseen by the Lyric’s acclaimed and beloved music director Sir Andrew Davis, who plans on concluding his two-decade-long tenure at the end of the 2020-’21 season.

“I am thrilled that Enrique Mazzola has accepted Lyric’s invitation to become our next music director,” Lyric CEO Anthony Freud says. “He has accrued a wealth of international experience in his career to date, and he is tremendously well liked and respected by the Lyric Opera orchestra and chorus. Our artistic partnership has already started and is proving both very fruitful and extremely enjoyable.”

The following profile was provided by the Lyric Opera:

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, 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 in Paris. In recognition of his contributions 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 du regiment” 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.

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