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Lyric Opera's Artistic Director Leaving

Lyric Opera's Artistic Director Leaving

Chicago (AP) -- Matthew A. Epstein's contract as artistic director of the Lyric Opera of Chicago will not be renewed beyond the present season, Lyric general manager William Mason announced Wednesday.

"Matthew and I have enjoyed an excellent relationship for many years, but our visions for the company diverged," Mason said in a statement. "I thank him for his many valuable contributions to Lyric and wish him the best with his future endeavors."

Mason appointed Epstein to the post in 1999.

"Our ideas were not on the same page anymore," Mason said in a brief telephone interview, saying that his differences with Epstein centered on the nature of the works being developed for the Lyric and the balance of the company's repertoire for upcoming seasons.

As artistic director, Epstein collaborated with Mason and the Lyric's music director, Sir Andrew Davis, on the choice of repertoire, singers, conductors, stage directors and designers.

Before assuming the artistic director's post, Epstein, 57, had served as an artistic adviser to Mason and former Lyric general managers Carol Fox and Ardis Krainik.

A 1969 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Epstein spent 26 years with Columbia Artists Management Inc. He has also served as a consultant for the San Francisco Opera, the Santa Fe Opera and Carnegie Hall.

As general director of the Welsh National Opera from 1991 to 1994, he was the first American to run an opera company in Great Britain. From 1987 until 1990, Epstein was artistic director of BAM Opera at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

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