CHICAGO, IL --The Lyric Opera of Chicago says its new general director was chosen after an eight-month international search. Anthony Freud is currently the Houston Grand Opera's CEO. He'll start a five-year contract as Lyric's general director on Oct. 1. Lyric officials announced the pick Thursday, praising Freud's leadership on artistic initiatives and community engagement programs. He'll succeed William Mason, who is retiring. Freud is a London native who has been working in Houston since 2006. The 53-year-old will be the fourth person to head the Lyric and the first appointed from outside the company's ranks. Freud says he's long been an admirer of the Lyric Opera and is honored. The Lyric Opera is one of the most prominent in the country, after New York's Metropolitan Opera and the San Francisco Opera.