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Lyric Opera appoints Michael Black as its chorus master

Lyric Opera of Chicago has appointed Michael Black as its chorus master, beginning with the 2013-14 season, Lyric general director Anthony Freud announced Friday.

Currently the chorus master of Opera Australia, Black replaces Martin Wright, who resigned last month for health reasons.

Black had previously served as Lyric Opera’s interim chorus master during the 2011-12 season, and prepared Lyric’s chorus for productions of “The Tales of Hoffmann,” “Lucia di Lammermoor,” “Boris Godunov,” “The Magic Flute,” “Aida” and “Show Boat.”

“Michael Black did superb work at Lyric last season,” Freud said in a statement. “Everyone at Lyric was deeply impressed by the quality of his musicianship, his command of style, and most important, his ability 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 to continue working with our world-class chorus,” said Sir Andrew Davis, Lyric’s music director and principal conductor.

At Opera Australia, Black worked as assistant chorus master and children’s chorus master before being appointed chorus master in 2001.

“It is an honor to be invited back to Lyric by Maestro Davis and Anthony Freud to fill the role of chorus master,” Black said. “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. I cannot wait to begin working with them again.”

Black, 47, who 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, also has served as chorus master with the Edinburgh Festival and London’s Holland Park Opera. He will begin at Lyric in August.

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