Chicago Opera Theater Names New General Director

By Keegan Morris |

Share this Post

Lawrence Edelson, wearing a blue checked suit and a blue dress shirt, smiles against a grey-blue background

Lawrence Edelson (Photo: Mia Isabella Photography)

Chicago Opera Theater has named Lawrence Edelson as its new general director.

Edelson will share the role of director with the current interim — Meaghan Stainback Smallwood — through September before taking the reins entirely. The company’s former general director, Ashley Magnus, left COT and Chicago in March.

Edelson founded American Lyric Theater in 2005, building a model organization for presenting and fostering new opera. He also recently concluded a successful eight-year stint as artistic and general director of Opera Saratoga in upstate New York. He will stay on at ALT as artistic and general director in his new role at COT.

COT and ALT have collaborated in the past. In 2019, the companies collaborated on a workshop presentation of The Life and Death(s) of Alan Turing, a title that ALT commissioned in 2012. In March 2023, COT presented the world premiere performance.

COT notes that Edelson is also an accomplished stage director — his directing career began at Glimmerglass Opera, and he’s helmed productions for Minnesota Opera, Wolf Trap Opera, and more. Audiences can expect that Edelson will direct the occasional COT title, the release adds.

Chicago Opera Theater closes out its season on May 27 and 28 with a Music of Remembrance-presented Jake Heggie double-bill: Another Sunrise/For a Look or a Touch. For more information, visit