Just in: Andrew Davis leaves Chicago

In a slightly peculiar press release (see below), the Lyric Opera has announced a successor to Sir Andrew Davis before confirming that the music director will step down in 2021.

Davis, 75, will have served for 20 years.

His successor, the Spnaish-Italian Enrique Mazzola, will be the company’s third music director. He is presently principal guest at  at the Deutsche Oper, Berlin.

photo: Christodoulou

Press release:
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
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As general director, president & CEO Anthony Freud announced today, big changes are underway at Lyric Opera of Chicago. Acclaimed and beloved music director Sir Andrew Davis plans to conclude his two-decade-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 the announcement at the Lyric Opera House. Meanwhile, 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.

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  • I recall Davis when he was Assistant Conductor of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra in the early 1970s. That position has seen many conductors rise to much greater prominence – especially Alexander Gibson, Colin Davis, James Lockhart and Simon Rattle.

  • The only peculiar thing about the changing of the guard, was that the search was kept so quiet. None of the Chicago papers mentioned it until they announced it and Freud and Mazzola appeared on Chicago Tonight. Why the need for a secret search? Is there something in Mazzola’s background that we are not supposed to know about? Did someone on the Board of Directors insist that the search be kept secret?

  • MAZZOLA to Chicago? What a great fortune for the Lyric opera and Chicago audiences. I know I will have to make a trip! He is such a great musician! WOW! Very exciting! Lyric is one of the best companies in the world! Under Mazzola will return to its golden past, I have No doubt!

  • Good God, what opera could Davis possibly be conducting in that photo?

    He looks like he’s in free fall on a roller coaster ride and his seat mate just fell out.

    It must be Wagner. It must be The Ring.

  • Chicago Tribune newspaper’s website has a full account today by music critic Howard Reich of the announcement and press conference. Bruno Bartoletti is mentioned, and his 34 years at Lyric. Davis, Mazzola, and general manager Anthony Freud were all at the conference. There was no mention of Lady Davis, who for many years has led Lyric’s Ryan Center for young artist training.

    Davis also has retired from the Melbourne Symphony after six years as chief conductor, becoming conductor emeritus this year.

    The conference stressed Mozzola’s interest in bel canto operas.

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