Sir Andrew Davis, music director and principal conductor of the world-renowned Lyric Opera of Chicago, will add the post of chief conductor of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra to his considerable credits, beginning in January 2013. The appointment was formally announced on Monday in Australia, and his initial contract in Melbourne is for four years.
Davis’s contract with Lyric Opera of Chicago was recently extended through the 2020-21 season. He will conduct Strauss’s Elektra, Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra, Massenet’s Werther, and Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg during Lyric’s 2012-13 season.
Since Lyric’s 57th season closed in late March, the globetrotting maestro has not taken any time off. He is currently in Australia for concerts with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra in Melbourne and Sydney through the end of June. The first program comprises music by Brahms, Poulenc, and Bach/Davis; the second features works of Wagner and Strauss, with soprano Deborah Voigt as soloist.
Davis led overlapping productions at Lyric this season of Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov, Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos, and Mozart’s The Magic Flute. He left immediately in late January for Britten-Elgar concerts in Bamberg, Germany, followed by performances with the London Philharmonic (Delius, Elgar, and Vaughan Williams) and recording sessions and concerts with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and violinist Tasmin Little.
Then the intrepid conductor flew back to the States to commence Don Giovanni rehearsals at the Metropolitan Opera in New York in early February. After his Met engagement concluded mid-March (and after he led the concert for the finals of the Met’s National Council Auditions), Davis headed back to London for rehearsals and performances with the BBC Symphony Orchestra (including Tippett’s A Child of Our Time and the premiere of Hugh Wood’s violin concerto). He spent a week conducting in Rotterdam (Vaughan Williams, Ravel, Strauss), then re-crossed the Atlantic in early April for rehearsals and performances through late May of A Florentine Tragedy/Gianni Schicchi at Canadian Opera Company in Toronto. Between the Canadian Opera performances in early May, Davis shuttled between Toronto and Chicago to rehearse with Lyric’s Ryan Opera Center and the Civic Orchestra of Chicago for the ensembles’ first-ever collaborative concert at Symphony Center on May 7. He also led the Toronto Symphony Orchestra in works by Nielsen, Grieg, and Strauss between opera performances.
From Toronto, Davis flew to Edinburgh for recording sessions with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra for Chandos Records – between rehearsals for The Damnation of Faust at Norway’s Bergen Music Festival. He briefly returned to Illinois to receive an honorary degree from Knox College in Galesburg on June 2 (and to attend his son Edward’s graduation from Knox) before jetting back to Bergen for performances from June 6-7, followed by recordings of Berlioz overtures with the Bergen Philharmonic.
After the current tour “Down Under” with the Melbourne Symphony, Davis can be found at Santa Fe Opera from early July through the end of August. He will lead rehearsals and performances of Strauss’s Arabella, starring soprano Erin Wall (one of Lyric’s Ryan Opera Center alumna) in the title role – with a couple of trips to Glasgow between Arabella performances for rehearsals and the August 10 opening of the Edinburgh Festival, where he’ll conduct Delius’s A Mass of Life with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra.
Davis will return to Melbourne after Santa Fe Opera’s Arabella closes the third week of August. By mid-September, he’ll be back at Lyric, conducting four operas in the company’s 58th season. At Lyric’s 2012-13 season announcement Davis noted, “It will be my first time conducting three of the four – Boccanegra, Werther, and Die Meistersinger – and I am eager to delve into all of them, as well as to return to the glorious score of Elektra.”