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With the Lyric Opera of Chicago enjoying acclaim for its opening productions of Das Rheinhold and Lucia di Lammermoor, it must have seemed like an apropos time to give its chief a renewed vote of confidence.
On Wednesday Lyric’s board of directors voted to extend Anthony Freud’s contract as general director for another five years through the 2020-2021 season.
“We are incredibly fortunate to have a visionary and talent of Anthony’s caliber to not only bolster our reputation as a leading opera company well into the future, but also to ensure we uphold our commitments to this community and find new ways to inspire the next generation of opera goers,” said David Ormesher, chairman of Lyric’s board of directors. “Anthony has proven himself as a leader capable of creating an artistically thrilling and financially sustainable future for this important cultural institution, and we look forward to seeing all we will achieve together under his leadership.”
The board cited Freud’s building on Lyric’s reputation as one of the world’s leading opera companies; his conceiving and launching the Lyric Unlimited community engagement initiatives; and his introducing the American Musical Theater Initiative to attract new audiences and revenue opportunities.
“I am honored to lead this world-class opera company, to have the opportunity to build on its 62-year legacy of artistic and administrative excellence, and to work with this extraordinary community of artists, Board members, staff, donors, and audiences to ensure we continue to advance our art form while also bringing creativity, cultural awareness, and financial investment to the city of Chicago,” said Freud in a statement released by the company.
The board also amended its organizational structure, with Freud’s position bolstered by adding president and CEO to his title of general director. Ormesher’s role has been renamed chairman, from the previous title of president and CEO. The release states that the switch reflects current operational practice and does not change the functions or responsibilities of either position.