Lawrence Edelson to Step Down as Director of Opera Saratoga at End of Season

SARATOGA SPRINGS – Opera Saratoga’s Artistic and General Director Lawrence Edelson announced that the 2022 Summer Festival will be the final season in his leadership role with the company. Edelson, who joined in 2014, will remain in his position through the end of July and will be joining The University of Houston as Professor of Practice and Artistic Director of The Moores Opera Center, one of the most prestigious programs for the training of operatic artists in the country. Edelson will also continue in his role as Artistic and General Director of American Lyric Theater in New York City, where he mentors emerging opera composers, librettists, and dramaturgs and oversees the development of new works.

Under Edelson’s leadership, Opera Saratoga has reached new and artistic and fiscal heights, even as the company has navigated a series of unforeseen challenges including the COVID-19 pandemic and forced relocation from its home theater due to necessary renovations.

Opera Saratoga has thrived under Larry’s direction.  With a passion for excellence, Larry led with focus, vision, action, and innovation.  Larry understood the art as well as the business of opera, always aware that one could never exist without the other.  Both artistically and financially, Larry is leaving Opera Saratoga far better than when he arrived.  The skill, professionalism, and commitment so ably demonstrated here will serve him well in all his future endeavors.  We thank him and we wish him well.

~ Opera Saratoga Board Chair Robert C. Miller

Highlights of Edelson’s tenure at Opera Saratoga have included multiple world and American premiere productions, including The Long Walk by Jeremy Howard Beck and Stephanie Fleischmann, The Witches of Venice by Philip Glass and Beni Montresor, and Ellen West by Ricky Ian Gordon and Frank Bidart; the company’s first Spanish language opera, Il Postino, by Daniel Catán; Opera Saratoga’s first foray into Baroque repertoire with Dido and Aeneas; and the critically acclaimed production and recording of Marc Blitzstein’s The Cradle Will Rock, directed and choreographed by Edelson and conducted by John Mauceri.  Under Edelson’s oversight, the company has also doubled the size of its Young Artist Program; deepened its commitment to community engagement and education initiatives; and initiated a new therapeutic music program for those living with Alzheimer’s Disease and other forms of dementia, which will launch this fall after a protracted delay due to the pandemic. 

Larry’s artistic direction has enabled the quality of our productions to increase dramatically in terms of repertoire, including presenting new works of social relevance, and in the selection and nurturing of young artists and principal singers.  He enjoys a high level of success and recognition in the community, bolstering both the reputation of the company and facilitating increased levels of philanthropic support.  We shall miss him, and certainly wish him nothing but the best as he moves forward to this next step in his career.

~ Opera Saratoga Board President Martha Strohl

Edelson has also fostered extensive new collaborative relationships for the company, many of which are showcased as part of Opera Saratoga’s upcoming 2022 Summer Festival from May 26th through July 10th, which includes performances at multiple venues across the region, including Sweeney Todd at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, The Barber of Seville at Proctors, Sky on Swings at The Egg, and Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle at The Round Lake Auditorium.

“When I first came to Saratoga Springs as a guest director in 2013, I fell in love with this community,” says Edelson, “and when I had the opportunity to join Opera Saratoga as Artistic and General Director the following year, I knew that I was about to embark on a very exciting journey. I truly could not have imagined how rewarding my time at Opera Saratoga would be. I have had some of the most meaningful experiences of my life during my time with the company, and I am deeply grateful to the artists, our entire staff, and our committed and generous supporters who make it possible for Opera Saratoga to contribute so vibrantly to the region year round.” 

The Board of Directors is assembling a committee to conduct a national search for Edelson’s successor.  During the transitional period, Edelson has agreed to serve as a consultant to the company to ensure continuity. “While it is bittersweet to be leaving a company that I love,” says Edelson, “I have no doubt that with the outstanding work of Managing Director Amada Robie, and the continued commitment of Opera Saratoga’s staff and Board of Directors, the company’s new leader will be able to build upon the six-decade history of this remarkable organization. It has been my great honor to steward Opera Saratoga for the past eight years, and I am excited to see what the next chapter will be for this very special company.”

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