Houston Grand Opera director Anthony Freud, 53, will be the new general director at Lyric Opera of Chicago, according to a statement released by Lyric today. Freud's appointment is effective October 1, the opening night of Lyric's next season. He succeeds William Mason, 69, who will function as general director emeritus for the 2011-12 season. Mason announced his intention to retire last July. Freud has been at the Houston opera since 2006; prior to that he was general director of the Welsh National Opera for 11 years. Born in London and educated as an attorney, he's a lifelong opera fan who started his career at the historic Sadler's Wells Theatre. Credited with significant artistic and audience development at Houston, he's walking out on a contract there that extends to mid-2015.