Lyric Opera Orchestra
Established in 1954, the Lyric Opera Orchestra made its debut that year, first with Lyric's "calling card" performances of Mozart's Don Giovanni and then later with the company's official opening, Bellini's Norma. Both productions were conducted by Nicola Rescigno, one of the company's co-founders.
The orchestra has since performed an extraordinarily diverse repertoire under many of the world's most distinguished conductors, including Enrique Mazzola, who has been Lyric Opera's music director since the 2021/22 season.
Over the course of its remarkable history the orchestra has also collaborated with such conductors as Bruno Bartoletti (longtime Lyric artistic director, currently artistic director emeritus), Sir Andrew Davis (Music Director, 2000/01 – 2020/21 Seasons), Tullio Serafin, Artur Rodzinski, Sir Georg Solti, Kiril Kondrashin, Ferdinand Leitner, Christoph von Dohnányi, Zubin Mehta, Sir John Pritchard, Sir Mark Elder, James Conlon, Riccardo Chailly, Antonio Pappano, Michael Tilson Thomas, Harry Bicket, and Donald Runnicles.
Among the orchestra's most acclaimed performances have been Wagner's Ring cycle under Mehta (1996) and Davis (2005), as well as performances in the past decade of repertoire as varied as Handel's Ariodante, Mozart's Idomeneo, Berlioz's Les Troyens, Verdi's Otello, Wagner's Tannhäuser and Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Mussorgksky's Boris Godunov, Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin, Massenet's Cendrillon, Dvořák's Rusalka, Strauss's Elektra, Gershwin's Porgy and Bess, and Weinberg's The Passenger.
As of July 1, 2021, Italian conductor Enrique Mazzola is music director of Lyric Opera of Chicago. He is only the third person to serve in this capacity at Lyric, following the tenures of Sir Andrew Davis and the late Bruno Bartoletti.
The Lyric Opera Orchestra string sections utilize revolving seating. Players behind the front desk change seats systematically and are listed alphabetically in the roster above.
Photo: Todd Rosenberg