Enrique Mazzola

Music Director

Enrique Mazzola is the John D. and Alexandra C. Nichols Endowed Chair.

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.

Lyric audiences first experienced Mazzola’s artistry as a bel canto specialist in Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor in 2016/17, and subsequently in Bellini’s I puritani in 2017/18. During Lyric’s 2019/20 Season he led Verdi’s Luisa Miller to launch the company’s Early Verdi Series.

When Lyric was unable to present live performances at the opera house during the 2020/21 Season because of the ongoing pandemic, Mazzola collaborated with favorite Lyric artists, ensemble members of the Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center, and members of the Lyric Opera Orchestra and Chorus, in presenting numerous special streamed filmed performances. These included “Attila: Breaking Down the Score,” “Attila: Highlights in Concert,” Sole e Amore (Italian art songs), “The Sonata Sessions” (chamber sonatas of Rossini), “The Great Verdi Chorus Showdown,” and a staged performance of Pagliacci.

Mazzola’s first opera as music director of Lyric, Sir David McVicar’s new production of Verdi’s Macbeth, opens the 2021/22 Season. Mazzola then conducts Donizetti’s The Elixir of Love at Lyric before traveling to Zurich for Anna Bolena, also by Donizetti. He returns to Lyric later in the season for the company premiere of Missy Mazzoli’s Proving Up.

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 2019 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.

During the summer of 2021, Mazzola returns to Glyndebourne Festival Opera to conduct the festival’s first production of Luisa Miller. Earlier this year he led works of Sibelius and Missy Mazzoli with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as excerpts from Donizetti’s “Tudor Queen” operas at the Dutch National Opera in Amsterdam.

Highlights of Mazzola’s 2019/20 season 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.

In 2019 Mazzola returned to the Metropolitan Opera for La fille du régiment (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.

Previous 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), Den 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 Teatro dell’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.

Welcome Enrique Mazzola as Lyric’s next Music Director

Welcome Enrique Mazzola as Lyric’s next Music Director

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.

Breaking Down the Score: Attila with Maestro Enrique Mazzola

Breaking Down the Score: Attila with Maestro Enrique Mazzola

Music Director Designate Enrique Mazzola stars in an original, engaging, and delightful web series centered on the twelve musical numbers of Verdi's Attila. In each episode, Maestro Mazzola shares a personal interpretation and reading of one of the pieces, offering unique insight into one of Verdi's early masterpieces from a conductor at the height of his craft.

Photos: Joe Mazza/Brave Lux, Jean-Baptiste Millot