Enrique Mazzola extends contract as music director of Lyric Opera of Chicago through 2030-31

CHICAGO (AP) — Enrique Mazzola extended his contract as music director of the Lyric Opera of Chicago through 2030-31, the company said Tuesday as it announced a 2024-25 season that opens with him conducting Verdi’s “Rigoletto” on Sept. 24.

A pair of contemporary works highlight the season, Jeanine Tesori’s “Blue” starting Nov. 16 and Missy Mazzoli’s “The Listeners” beginning March 30, 2025. The six productions match the number in 2023-24.

Mazzola, 55, succeeded Andrew Davis with a five-year contract in 2021-22. He also will conduct Beethoven’s “Fidelio” starting Sept. 26 and “The Listeners.”

The company has not yet announced a successor to general director Anthony Freud, who said last fall he will retire at the end of 2023-24, his 13th season.

“Blue” premiered at Glimmerglass Opera in Cooperstown, New York, on July 14, 2019. Kenneth Kellogg returns from the first cast in an opera about a Black police officer whose son is killed by a white police officer. Tazewell Thompson, who wrote the libretto, directs the production at the Lyric Opera House — it was first planned for Chicago Shakespeare Theater at Navy Pier in 2020 but was postponed because of the pandemic.

“The Listeners” opened at the Norwegian Opera on Sept. 24, 2022, and is scheduled for its U.S. premiere at Opera Philadelphia this Sept. 25. Nicole Heaston reprises her role as Claire in an opera about charismatic leaders, cult-like rituals and an environmental hum only a few people can hear.

Mary Birnbaum directs “Rigoletto” in a production from 2006 starring Igor Golovatenko, Javier Camarena and Gilda Mané Galoyan.

Matthew Ozawa’s production of “Fidelio,” first seen at the San Francisco Opera in 2021, opens Sept. 26 starring tenor Russell Thomas and soprano Elza van den Heever.

Mozart’s “Le Nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro)” begins Nov. 9 in a 2015 staging by Barbara Gaines. Conductor Erina Yashima makes her Lyric debut with a cast that includes Peter Kellner, Federica Lombardi and Ying Fang.

Puccini’s “La Bohème” starts March 15, 2025, with Ailyn Pérez and Pene Pati in a staging originally conceived by Herbert Ross at the LA Opera in 1993. Melanie Bacaling directs in Chicago.