Freud to depart Lyric Opera two years early at end of this season

September 14, 2023
Anthony Freud has been Lyric Opera general director since 2011. Photo: Todd Rosenberg

Anthony Freud will depart Lyric Opera at the end of the 2023-24 season, two years earlier than his current contract calls for.

Freud, 65, will work in his current role as general director, president and CEO until next summer at which time he will retire and return to live in the UK with his husband, Colin Ure.

“Having been a general director for 30 years leading opera companies on both sides of the Atlantic, with the last 13 wonderful years at Lyric, I have made the personal decision to retire in summer 2024,” said Freud in a statement released by the company. “Working with Lyric has, for me, been the honor and thrill of a lifetime.”

A spokesperson for the company said Freud’s decision to retire was the reason for his current contract ending two years earlier than scheduled.

Freud has become a controversial figure over his 13-year tenure at the Chicago company, presiding over what many longtime observers view as a period of artistic decline and crucial loss of mission for a company that once held status as one of the three leading opera companies in the country.

“During Anthony’s tenure, Lyric has seen tremendous artistic growth and amazing firsts,” said board chair Sylvia Neil. ”Thanks to Anthony’s leadership and hard work, Lyric enhanced its national and international leadership in the field and stands out as an indispensable part of the cultural and civic fabric of Chicago.”

Lyric’s 2023-24 season opens September 23 with Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman.

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