Thursday 28 March 2013

Best and Outstanding - Olivier Awards

This year's Olivier Awards nominees have been revealed. I'm not quite sure what period they cover as one of the nominated opera productions is the recent ENO La Traviata, but the lists make interesting reading. Those nominated are inevitable only a fraction of what we've seen in the last year, but I can't help feeling that there are bits missing and that nominations do not reflect the diversity of new opera productions in London at the moment.

Before we look at opera, let's consider the three nominees for Best New Dance Production. Christopher Wheelden's Aeternum for the Royal Ballet, Netherlands Dans Theater 2's Cacti at Sadler's Wells and A Street Car Named Desire, Scottish Ballet at Sadler's Wells. Not all encompassing, but the three do rather cover a wide range of what new dance is available.

Now, the Best Opera Production nominees are ENO's Billy Budd, ENO's Caligula and ENO's La Traviata plus Einstein on the Beach at the Barbican. Were these really the best that was on offer in London in the last year? Certainly they were perhaps some of the most challenging, but challenging isn't always best. What about ENO's Pilgrim's Progress, Silent Opera's L'Orfeo and British Youth Opera's A Night at the Chines Opera

Outstanding Achievement in Opera nominees are Edward Gardiner (for conducting The Flying Dutchman and Billy Budd), Bryan Hymel (for Les Troyens and Robert le Diable), Music Theatre Wales for In the Locked Room/Ghost Patrol and the stage management teams at English National Opera, London Coliseum and the Royal Opera House. 

Shouldn't the Music Theatre Wales double bill be in the Best Opera Production, or are we to assume that though the production wasn't Best it was in some way Outstanding; or perhaps that the adjudicators suddenly realised that they have got no small opera companies this year. Don't forget that Opera Up Close's La Boheme won one year. And what about the Royal Opera's Ring Cycle, surely there was something Outstanding about this? And what about rewarding a small company like Tete a Tete  for their amazing annual achievement, the Opera Festival at Riverside Studios.

I'm sure the nominations make sense to someone.

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