Lidiya Yankovskaya to Depart COT at End of ’23–24 Season

By Keegan Morris |

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Lidiya Yankovskaya poses resolutely in front of a white backdrop

Lidiya Yankovskaya (Photo: Todd Rosenberg)

The Chicago Opera Theater has announced that Lidiya Yankovskaya, music director since 2017, will step down after the 2023-2024 season concludes.

As one of the very few women music directors of a major US opera company, Yankovskaya is respected for her leadership, artistic vision, as well as her inventive programming. During her tenure, Yankovskaya shared more than 25 works with Chicago audiences for the first time.

The Chicago Tribune named her a 2020 Chicagoan of the Year. And in 2022, she made headlines for returning to the podium to conduct COT’s Becoming Santa Claus just days after giving birth to her second child.

The conductor will continue to helm the company’s program for rising opera composers, the Vanguard Initiative, which she conceived of and founded in 2018.

In July 2023, Lawrence Edelson became the company’s general director; Ashley Magnus, his predecessor, departed earlier in the year. With this latest exit, the company states that it will create a new position — Head of Music — instead of immediately hiring a replacement.

Yankovskaya’s final engagement as music director will be Shostakovich’s The Nose in early December, itself a Chicago premiere.