Italian conductor Enrique Mazzola will become music director of Lyric Opera of Chicago beginning with the 2021/22 Season.
Widely recognized as one of today’s foremost interpreters and champions of bel canto opera and a leading specialist of French works as well as early Verdi, Mazzola is in great demand worldwide in both operatic and symphonic repertoire. He is principal guest conductor at the Deutsche Oper Berlin, and until recently served as artistic and music director of the Orchestre National d’Île-de-France (ONDIF) in Paris. In recognition of his significant contributions to musical life in France, Mazzola was made a Chevalier de l’ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government in 2018.
In 2019 Mazzola returned to the Metropolitan Opera for La fille du regiment (featured in its 2018/2019 HD season), followed by back-to-back summer engagements for new productions in Austria. First was Mazzola’s return to the Bregenz Festival for Rigoletto, followed by his Salzburg Festival debut in August, conducting the Vienna Philharmonic in Barrie Kosky’s new staging of Orphée aux enfers.
Lyric audiences first experienced Mazzola’s artistry in Lucia di Lammermoor in 2016/17, and when he returned for I puritani in 2017/18. In Lyric’s 2019/20 Season he led Verdi’s Luisa Miller to launch the company’s early Verdi series.
Highlights of Mazzola’s 2019/20 season also included his return to the Zurich Opera House (Don Pasquale, new production), the Vienna Symphony Orchestra for concerts at the Musikverein and Bregenz Festival), Deutsche Oper Berlin (Meyerbeer’s rarely heard Le prophète and Dinorah), Orchestre Symphonique de Québec, Taiwan Philharmonic, and symphonic concerts in Germany.
Recent seasons have included engagements with the Vienna State Opera (Don Pasquale), Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse, London’s Philharmonia Orchestra, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Oslo Philharmonic, Royal Northern Sinfonia, New Japan Philharmonic, Taipei Symphony, Brussels Philharmonic, and Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra. Mazzola’s return engagements have included the Zurich Opera House (Il turco in Italia, Maria Stuarda, The Barber of Seville, I puritani), Bregenz Festival (Rossini’s Mosè in Egitto), Scottish Chamber Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Deutsche Oper Berlin (most recently for a new production of Les contes d’Hoffmann), Norske Opera (Don Giovanni), the Vienna Symphony, Orchestre Symphonique de Québec, São Paulo State Symphony, and Glyndebourne Festival Opera (The Barber of Seville).
Mazzola’s final season with Orchestre National d’Île de France included recordings, Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3 with Cédric Tiberghien, and works by Respighi, of whose compositions he is an acclaimed interpreter. Highlights of previous seasons with ONDIF included a concert version of Rossini’s Cinderella and recordings and concerts in Paris, including their sold-out Philharmonie de Paris series.
Past opera engagements have also included the Rossini Opera Festival (La gazzetta), Théâtre des Champs-Élysées (Tancredi, Don Pasquale, La scala di seta, L'occasione fa il ladro, Il signor Bruschino), Deutsche Oper Berlin (Dinorah in concert, The Barber of Seville, The Flying Dutchman, Falstaff, Meyerbeer’s Vasco da Gama), and the Bolshoi Theatre (La sonnambula). Mazzola has led earlier performances at Glyndebourne of Don Pasquale, Poliuto, The Elixir of Love, and The Barber of Seville. Additional opera credits include Florence’s Teatro del Maggio Musicale (L’italiana in Algeri), New National Theatre Tokyo (Don Giovanni), Opera du Rhin (Macbeth, Cinderella), and Milan’s La Scala (Don Pasquale).
Major European festival appearances have included Falstaff at the Aix-en-Provence Festival; Festival de Radio France et Montpellier, Enescu Festival and Haydn Festival with Orchestre National d’Île de France; BBC Proms, Munich’s Opernfestspiele, Rossini Opera Festival, Biennale of Venice, Wexford Opera Festival, Festival de Granada, and Les Chorégies d’Orange.
A brilliant interpreter of contemporary music, Mazzola has commissioned and conducted several premieres with ONDIF and founded Île de Créations, a competition for young composers. He conducted the world premieres of Alberto Colla’s Il processo (La Scala), Luca Lombardi’s Il re nudo (Rome’s Teatrodell’Opera), Arnaldo de Felice’s Medusa ( Munich’s Bayerische Staatsoper), Azio Corghi’s Isabella (Pesaro’s Rossini Opera Festival), and many other symphonic premieres with major European orchestras.
Between 1999 and 2003 Mazzola served as artistic and music director of the Cantiere Internazionale d’Arte in Montepulciano, building on the rich heritage of composer Hans Werner Henze, who started the Italian summer school and musical festival for young singers, actors, musicians, conductors, and composers in 1976. Mazzola conducted many world premieres of contemporary music in symphonic concerts and new operatic productions at the festival with the Royal Northern College of Music Symphony Orchestra. That engagement led to Mazzola being named 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.
Mazzola was born in Barcelona, Spain, into a musical family. Growing up in Milan, he studied violin and piano, completing his studies at the Conservatorio Giuseppe Verdi of Milan, earning diplomas in composition and orchestral conducting. As a child he was a member of the children’s chorus at La Scala, during which time he also served as a soloist. He cherished the opportunity to work with prominent conductors and directors (including Claudio Abbado, Carlos Kleiber, Seiji Ozawa, and Giorgio Strehler), ultimately confirming his interest in pursuing a conducting career and his wish to become a creative member of the opera world.