Enrique Mazzola Credit: Jean-Baptiste Millot

Lyric Opera of Chicago announced today that music director Andrew Davis will end his two-decade tenure after the 2020-2021 season; he’ll be succeeded by a relative newcomer to Lyric—Italian conductor Enrique Mazzola.

Already scheduled to conduct the second opera of this season, Verdi’s Luisa Miller (which will open October 12), Mazzola was on hand for the formal announcement at the Opera House by general director Anthony Freud.

Mazzola has been named music director designate, effective immediately.

Lyric audiences have had just two previous opportunities to see Mazzola in action in their home venue: he conducted Lucia di Lammermoor in the 2016-2017 season, and I Puritani the following season, earning warm reviews.

Freud said in a written version of the announcement that Mazzola, who has “a wealth of international experience . . . is tremendously well-liked and respected by the Lyric Opera Orchestra and Chorus.”

Known as an adept and personable interpreter of both contemporary and bel canto, Mazzola is principal guest conductor at Deutsche Oper Berlin as well as the former artistic and music director of the Orchestre National d’Île-de-France (ONDIF) in Paris. His many recent international conducting gigs include Donizetti’s La Fille du Régiment at the Metropolitan Opera and Offenbach’s Orpheus in the Underworld with the Vienna Philharmonic at the Salzburg Festival.

According to the announcement, Mazzola is also a brand ambassador for Tuscan wine, “promoting the culture of Vino Nobile and the surrounding Montepulciano wine region,” but plans to make Chicago his principal residence. v