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Editorial: Welcome to Chicago, maestro Enrique Mazzola. Sorry we were so distracted.

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An exuberant Italian of Spanish birth, Enrique Mazzola was so impressive to the French that they offered to make him an honorary citizen. He now calls Chicago home, and we’re glad he’s here.

Unless you follow opera, you might not know that Mazzola, a fashionable and charming man, is the new musical director of Chicago’s renowned Lyric Opera. It’s a key position in the cultural life of this city. Lyric has a general director in Anthony Freud. But with all due respect to Freud, who has to run all aspects of the organization, Mazzola will be the person who dictates what matters most in opera — the sounds that reach your ear.

He’s not a guest freelancer but a resident Chicago artist of global renown, long admired for his diversity of expertise at such institutions as the Oslo Philharmonic and Britain’s Glyndebourne Festival and a conductor who always has paid uncommon attention to the needs and feelings of his audience.

As such he now stands on a Chicago roster with his fellow Italian, the 80-year-old Riccardo Muti, the famed music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, although Mazzola will most likely be much more present in this city.

And at age 53, Mazzola represents a different generation of maestro. Chicago gets him at the sweet spot where life and professional experience are........

© Chicago Tribune

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