Tuesday, 10 April 2018

International Opera Awards 2018

Teresa Berganza, winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2018 International Opera Awards (photo Chris Christodoulou)
Teresa Berganza, winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2018 International Opera Awards
(photo Chris Christodoulou)
The 2018 International Opera Awards were held at the London Coliseum on Monday 9 April 2018, celebrating significant achievements in the world of opera. Hosted by Petroc Trelawney and directed by Ella Marchment (herself a recipient of in International Opera Awards Bursary). 

Anne-Sophie Duprels performing at the 2018 International Opera Awards (photo Chris Christodoulou)
Anne-Sophie Duprels performing at the 2018 International Opera Awards
(photo Chris Christodoulou)
The evening featured live performance from the Orpheus Sinfonia, conductor Oliver Gooch, with a chorus made up of past and current International Opera Awards Bursary recipients. The chorus and orchestra opened proceedings with ‘Wach’ auf, es nahet gen den Tag’ from Wagner’s Die Meistersinger and during the evening soprano Anush Hovhannisyan sang music from Rossini’s Semiramide, soprano Anne-Sophie Duprels sang music from Mascagni’s Iris, mezzo-soprano Wallis Giunta sang music from Johann Strauss’s Die Fledermaus, baritone Gordon Bintner sang music from Donizetti’s Don Pasquale, bass-baritone Brindley Sherratt sang music from Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra, and soprano Camilla Tilling sang music from Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice. 

Noah Mosley conducted his own A History of Opera in 4 minutes, an enjoyable and imaginative whisk through 400 years of opera, my favourite section being Tristan spliced with the Can-Can from Offenbach's Orpheus in the Underworld then slipping directly into Carmen. The evening was brought to a close with the ‘Make our Garden Grow’ from Leonard Bernstein’s Candide with Toby Spence as Candide and Sky Ingram as Cunegonde.

The awards were highly international, with finalists from all over the globe and a jury of near 30 people, chaired by John Allison (editor of Opera magazine). Quite how they made their decisions I don't know, when faced with so many companies and artists deserving recognition. As an example of the sort of problems faced by the judges, the Opera Company Award included Bavarian State Opera, La Fenice, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Opera Graz, Opera North and Teatro Real (Madrid) in the finalists, companies who vary in size enormously, how on earth do you begin to compare Bavarian State Opera (the winner) to Opera North!

Skye Ingram and Toby Spence performing at the 2018 International Opera Awards (photo Chris Christodoulou)
Sky Ingram and Toby Spence performing at the
2018 International Opera Awards (photo Chris Christodoulou)
The Education and Outreach Award, presented by Nadine Benjamin, went to Opera Holland Park for their Inspire programme. The Young Singer Award, presented by Gerald Finley, went to the Canadian mezzo-soprano Wallis Giunta (see my review of her performance in Opera North's production of Ravel's L'enfant et les sortileges). The Newcomer Award went to Czech director Barbora Horáková Joly [see my review of her production of Verdi's Un giorno di regno at the Heidenheim Opera Festival]. The Philanthropist Award, presented by Stuart Skelton, went to Annette Campbell-White who is on the advisory board of Garsington Opera

The Lifetime Achievement Award, presented by Sir Jeremy Isaacs (former director of the Royal Opera), went to the Spanish mezzo-soprano Teresa Berganza. The award for Female Singer went to Swedish soprano Malin Byström (recently seen in Richard Strauss's Salome at Covent Garden, see my review), and Polish tenor Piotr Beczała was awarded the Male Singer award, whilst the Readers’ Award went to soprano Pretty Yende, who received more than 10,000 votes online.

The Conductor Award went to Vladimir Jurowski, who conducted the Brett Dean's Hamlet at Glyndebourne, which received the World Premiere Award [see my review of the touring production of the opera]. The Director Award went to Mariusz Treliński, the Designer Award to Paul Steinberg (who designed the Rossini Semiramide at Covent Garden, see my review).

The CD (Complete Opera) Award went to Erato's recording of Berlioz'  Les troyens, conducted by John Nelson, with Joyce DiDonato, Michael Spyres and Marianne Lemieux [see my review].

I will also be writing about the event for the Russian Art & Culture website.

2018 WINNERS

CHORUS: MusicAeterna
CONDUCTOR: Vladimir Jurowski
DESIGNER: Paul Steinberg
DIRECTOR: Mariusz Treliński
EDUCATION AND OUTREACH: Opera Holland Park
FEMALE SINGER: Malin Byström
FESTIVAL: Festival Verdi Parma
LEADERSHIP IN OPERA: Bernd Loebe
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT: Teresa Berganza
MALE SINGER: Piotr Beczała
NEW PRODUCTION: Britten: Billy Budd, d. Deborah Warner (Teatro Real, Madrid)
NEWCOMER: Barbora Horáková Joly (Director)
OPERA COMPANY: Bayerische Staatsoper
OPERA ORCHESTRA: Teatro alla Scala, Milan
PHILANTHROPY: Annette Campbell-White
READERS’ AWARD: Pretty Yende
RECORDING (COMPLETE OPERA): Berlioz: Les Troyens (Erato)
RECORDING (SOLO RECITAL): Veronique Gens: Visions (Alpha)
REDISCOVERED WORK: Krenek: Drei Opern (Oper Frankfurt)
WORLD PREMIERE: Brett Dean: Hamlet (Glyndebourne)
YOUNG SINGER: Wallis Giunta

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