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Chicago Opera Theater Appoints New General Director

Stage director and arts administrator Lawrence Edelson will step into the role


Lawrence Edelson succeeds Ashley Magnus, who left the role in March, and will work alongside Chicago Opera Theater's Interim Director Megan Stainback Smallwood for a time until he steps into the role fully.

Edelson's background is in both classical voice and ballet: he studied dance at New York's Joffrey Ballet School, as well as singing and musicology at the University of Ottawa. Since that time, Edelson has worked as a stage director and arts administrator.

He is best known as the founder of the American Lyric Theater, where he created the first full-time program for emerging opera composers and librettists in the United States. Here, Edelson also implemented the Opera Writers Diversity and Representation Initiative with the aim of fostering inclusion in the operatic world.

"The Board search committee, led by the Immediate Past Board President Henry Fogel, conducted a rigorous search, and we were privileged to meet many incredible candidates," said COT Board President Susan Irion. "Larry is an innovative leader in the opera field and lives COT's core values of artistic excellence, support of artists and diversity, and championing new works."

"I have long admired Larry's vital contributions to opera, particularly through his work with American Lyric Theater," saiid COT's Music Director Lidiya Yankovskaya.

"COT's collaborative workshop of The Life and Death(s) of Alan Turing with ALT in 2019 allowed the opera's creative team to hone the work that we ultimately premiered this spring to critical acclaim. I am looking forward to working with Larry in this new capacity as he brings his extensive experience and creative energy to Chicago."

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