The Lyric Opera of Chicago has just announced the result of its own succession search: Anthony Freud will move from the Houston Grand Opera to replace William Mason as the company’s general director in October.
It’s a nice and safe choice. Freud, 53, is a solid and savvy administrator who is committed to new ventures but also doesn’t seek to rock the boat. Don't look for Peter Gelb-like new initiatives, but rather incremental developments. It’s an approach that should fit Chicago, the most conservative of America’s major opera companies (I’m using the Met and San Francisco as my benchmarks).
Freud has been in Houston since 2006, and led the Welsh National Opera for more than a decade before that, following a stint as a producer at Phillips.
I like Freud, and I’m happy to see this news; but I’m also a bit wistful that Chicago didn’t take the chance to think outside the box. Then again, perhaps Freud is positioned to make the nips and tucks that could help maintain the company’s solid foundations while bringing it somewhere slightly more exciting.