American soprano Renee Fleming, 51, has been named Creative Consultant for Lyric Opera of Chicago and Vice-President of the Lyric Board of Trustees. The five-year appointment, effective immediately, was made at 4PM Thursday (Dec. 9).
The internationally celebrated Fleming has a long history with Lyric Opera (she made her Lyric debut in 1993) as a performer--and a name who sells tickets--but now will undertake a new role advising on artists and repertory. A strong advocate of new work in the often-stodgy world of so-called "museum opera," she announced on Thursday that Lyric will commission a world premiere opera for the 2015-2016 season.
It's fair to ask why Lyric opera needs a creative consultant, as it already has an music director of 10 years' standing (Sir Andrew Davis), a beloved Emeritus Artistic Director (Bruno Bartoletti) and a capable and vastly experienced General Director (William Mason). However, Mason has announced his retirement at the end of next season (2011-2012) after 15 years in the top spot. The appointment of Fleming may be an audition for her promotion after Mason steps down.