Lyric Opera of Chicago Names Michael Black New Chorus Master, Starting 2013-14 Season

Lyric Opera of Chicago Names Michael Black New Chorus Master, Starting 2013-14 Season

Anthony Freud, general director of Lyric Opera of Chicago, announced today that Michael Black will be the company's new chorus master beginning with the 2013-14 season. He commences in August of 2013.

Black achieved great success as Lyric Opera's interim chorus master during the 2011-12 season, preparing the Lyric Opera Chorus for productions of The Tales of Hoffmann, Lucia di Lammermoor, Boris Godunov, The Magic Flute, Aida, and Show Boat.

Martin Wright served as chorus master from August until mid-November, when he resigned for health reasons. Ian Robertson, chorus director of San Francisco Opera, has been engaged as Lyric's guest chorus master Dec. 11-Feb. 23.

"Michael Black did superb work at Lyric last season," said Freud. "Everyone at Lyric - above all, our chorus members - was deeply impressed by the quality of his musicianship, his command of style, and most important, his ability, on a daily basis, to draw from the Lyric Opera Chorus the absolute best that they have to give. It takes a rare musician to achieve equal success, linguistically as well as musically, with composers as diverse as Offenbach, Mussorgsky, Donizetti, Mozart, Verdi, and Kern. Michael achieved this, and all of us are gratified that he will be able to continue his record of achievement with us beginning next season."

"Michael Black is a fantastic chorus master, and we are fortunate that he will be returning to Lyric on a permanent basis to continue working with our world-class chorus," said Sir Andrew Davis, Lyric's music director and principal conductor.

Said Black, "It is an honor to be invited back to Lyric by Maestro Davis and Anthony Freud to fill the role of chorus master, this time on an extended basis. The Lyric Opera Chorus is justifiably proud of its long history of first-rate performances and choral excellence, and I am thrilled to be able to strive to continue this tradition in the coming years. The chorus members already have my genuine respect and affection and I cannot wait to begin working with them again."

Michael Black is chorus master of Opera Australia, a post he has held since 2001. His repertoire with the company has included seven Mozart works, 12 Verdi works, 13 French works, 19 Italian works, 11 German works, 11 English works, seven Slavic works, and ten operettas in various languages. Among these are several works that are planned for Lyric Opera's future seasons.

Additionally, Black has prepared the Opera Australia chorus for performances of the Verdi Requiem, the Mozart Requiem, Rossini's Stabat Mater, Beethoven's Symphony No. 9, Brahms's A German Requiem, Orff's Carmina Burana, Holst's The Planets, Rimsky Korsakov's Polotvisan Dances, and Bernstein's Chichester Psalms. Recordings, DVDs, and/or HD cinema broadcasts with Opera Australia include the Verdi Requiem, Pirates of Penzance, The Love of Three Oranges, Rusalka, Beethoven's Symphony No. 9, Ravel's Daphnis et Chloë, Le nozze di Figaro, Der Rosenkavalier, Rigoletto, The Mikado, Madama Butterfly, Die tote Stadt,and Opera Australia's 50th Gala Concert. He worked as assistant chorus master and children's chorus master before being appointed chorus master in 2001.

Black has also worked as chorus master with the Edinburgh Festival and London's Holland Park Opera, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Sydney Philharmonia Choir, Sydney Motet Choir, and Cantillation in a variety of repertoire. Over the course of several years he was a lecturer at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, has adjudicated many competitions, and has given vocal master classes. His many awards and scholarships include the Opera Foundation Bayreuth Scholarship (2001). Black holds a bachelor of music education degree and graduate diploma in accompaniment from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, and a master of music degree (in musicology) from the University of New South Wales in Sydney. He was born in 1965.

Photo Credit: Kurt Sneddon