Many of us get into Award shows like the Oscars, the Grammys, the Tonys, and the Golden Globes. It’s fun to have parties, predict winners, dress fancy, and create a red carpet for you and your friends to pose on.
Yet for too many years, opera has been over looked in the Awards craze. Where are the statues for Don Giovanni and Madama Butterfly? Well the wait is over.
Founded in 2012 the International Opera Awards to recognize outstanding achievements in the world of opera. Besides giving out awards the International Opera Awards focus on raising donations that is given to rising talents.
This next list is our blatant attempt to give media attention to a new comer in the world of awards. Hopefully you will be inspired to host a party for you and your opera-loving friends in 2017.
So, without further ado, here are the 2016 Winners of the International Opera Awards held on May 15th at London’s Savoy Theatre.
1. CD (Complete Opera) Category – Les Martyrs (Opera Rara)
Composed by Donizetti Les Martyrs consists of four acts that tell the tale of tragedy of Christian martyrdom. Still, this opera began as a Poliuto, an opera Donizetti composed that was banned before its opening night due to its pious content.
Upset over this censorship Donizetti relocated to Paris hoping to convince the French operatic community to accept his work. In 1838 he agreed to rework Poliuto for production in Paris and composed Les Martyrs. After a lucrative opening the Donizetti opera faded into obscurity.
This Opera Rara revival brings the original French production including music that have not been played professionally since the opera’s first performance.
2. CD (Operatic Recital) – Ann Hallenberg Agrippina
Ann Hallenberg is a Swedish mezzo-soprano who has appeared in opera houses and festivals all around the world.
In this recording she takes on the title role in this opera composed by Italian musician George Frideric Handel. It tells the story of Agrippina who wants her son Nero to take over the throne after her husband, Emperor Claudius, has died. It needs to be said that Claudius is not Nero’s father.
Hallenberg has been said to take these twelve arias and take them to a level not achieved by singers. She achieves a strong performance with no difficulty.
3. Chorus – English National Opera
The English National Opera goes all the way back to the early thirties. Lilian Baylis, a producer and director, started the Sadler’s Wells Opera Company. She intended to create an atmosphere where viewers could experience top notch operatic performances for a reasonable cost.
Today their chorus is one of the best opera troupes in the United Kingdom. They perform collections ranging from Henry Purcell to Philip Glass. They received accolades for their latest productions of Othello, The Mastersingers of Nuremberg, The Queen of Spades, Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, and The Force of Destiny.
4. Conductor – Gianandrea Noseda
This Italian born conductor won this year’s International Opera Award for achieving great strides in performances. He spent time in Milan studying piano, composition, and conducting.
He won the Cadaqués Orchestra International Conducting Competition in 1994 and was appointed their principal conductor. In 1997 Noseda became a primary guest conductor at St. Petersburg’s premiere theater the Mariinsky (you can watch the best Mariinsky performances here).
In January of this year he was selected as the music director for the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, D.C. Noseda will take the position for the 2017-18 season.
5. Designer – Vicki Mortimer
This British designer trained at the Slade School of Fine Art. She is known to work closely with Wayne McGregor, with whom she made her Royal Ballet debut in 2003. In 2013 she worked on McGregor’s Raven Girl.
Other opera designs include creating costumes for the Dutch National Opera, designs for Al gran sole carico d’amore for the Berlin State Opera and Salzburg Festival, Neither for the Berlin State Opera, After Dido and The Way Back Home for the English National Opera.
6. Director – Laurent Pelly
This winner of the International Opera Award was born in Paris in 1962. He is currently France’s most pursued operatic director.
At the age of eighteen Pelly founded the Compagnie Théâtre du Pélican in 1980. Pelly is widely known for his direction with French collections. It is said his talent lies in bringing out the sober side of farces.
Recent operatic performances Pelly has worked on is Le Comte Ory by Rossini in 2014, I Puritani by Bellini in Paris and Les Contes d’Hoffmann by Offenbach in Barcelona in 2013, and L’enfant et les sortiléges by Ravel at the Glyndebourne Opera in 2012.
7. Female Singer – Mariella Devia
Born in Italy in 1948 Devia is a wildly celebrated operatic soprano. After training at the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome Devia debuted on a stage in Lucia di Lammermoor in 1973.
From 1979 to 1994 Devia sang in the roles of Lucia, Gilda, Nannetta, Despina, and Constanze at the Metropolitan Opera. She also performed at Carnegie Hall in Lakmé in 1979.
Devia is also acknowledged for her interpretations of Mozart in The Magic Flute, Cosí fan tutte, Le nozze di Figaro, Don Giovanni, and Idomeneo.
8. Male Singer – Gregory Kunde
Born in Kankakee, Illinois this American tenor is widely known for his renditions of French and Italian catalogues. Kunde trained in conducting and voice at Illinois State University. His debut performance was as Cassio in Otello at the Lyric Opera of Chicago.
Other performances include Tybalt in Roméo et Juliette at the Opéra de Montréal and in Massenet’s Manon at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. Still, it was Kunde performance as Arturo in I puritani that exposed his love for the bel canto and his ability to reach a high F.
9. Opera Company – Dutch National Opera
This opera company is based in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Currently its headquarters are the Dutch National Opera and Ballet.
Originally named De Nederlandse Opera, this company was founded post World War II. In 1964 it received its next moniker The Dutch Opera Foundation. It wasn’t until 2014 that the company was renamed Dutch National Opera.
The Dutch National Opera normally produces eleven shows every year. It is common for their performances to sell out. The company travels with their productions as well as showcasing them in their home base.
10. Rediscovered Work – Le roi Carotte
This four act opera was composed by Jacques Offenbach, German-French composer born in 1819. This particular award winning performance was produced by the Opéra National de Lyon in France.
The director for this production was our earlier mention Laurent Pelly, who is versed in Offenbach works and recoveries.
Performers in this Opéra National de Lyon production of Le roi Carotte include Christophe Mortagne, Julie Boulianne, Yann Beuron, and Antoinette Dennenfeld.
11. World Premiere – Cold Mountain (Santa Fe Opera)
This American opera is based on the novel by the same name by Charles Frazier. It was co-commissioned by the Santa Fe Opera, Opera Philadelphia, and the Minnesota Opera.
There was a lapse in the commission due to difficulties. This was due to financial strains and disagreements over operations with the San Francisco Opera.
The world premiere at Santa Fe Opera took place on August 1, 2015. It accorded with the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War. Four of the scheduled performances sold out, which prompted the addition of a performance bringing the total up to six.
12. Young Conductor – Giacomo Sagripanti
Getting his conducting start in Italy and Germany this year’s winner of the Young Conductor prize debuted at the Festival della Valle d’Itria, Associazione Lirica e Concertistica, and the Lübeck Theatre.
From there he has gone on to conduct productions at many opera houses throughout Europe. Sagripanti is frequently asked to orchestral seasons of celebrated symphonies such as ROSS in Sevilla, Filarmonica Fenice in Venice, Essener Philharmoniker, Orchestra RAI in Turin, Haydn Orchester in Trento and Bozen, etc.
13. Young Director – Fabio Ceresa
Making his debut in 2010 directing Madama Butterfly for the Fondazione Pergolesi Spontini. In 2015 he began a recent coproduction of I puritani for Florence and Teatro Regio. This coincided with a production of Madama Butterfly in Florence and Bari.
Ceresa was invited to stage Mascagni’s Guglielmo Ratcliff at the 2015 season of Wexford Festival Opera.
14. Young Female Singer – Asmik Grigorian
Born in Vilnius Lithuanian this soprano trained at the Lithuanian Music and Theatre Academy. Grigorian is a founding member of Vilnius City Opera.
For her debut role as Violetta and her performance as Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd, Grigorian was awarded two Golden Stage Cross awards. This is the greatest honor a singer can receive in Lithuania.
Future performances include productions of Il Tabarro and Suor Angelica at Opera di Roma, Fedora and Manon Lescaut at the Royal Swedish Opera, Wozzeck at the Salzburg Festival and Norske Opera, and concert dates in Croatia, Germany, and Amsterdam.
15. Young Male Singer – Stanislas de Barbeyrac
The winner of this final International Opera Award is a new tenor on the scene. After studying at the Bordeaux Conservatory de Barbeyrac became a member of the Atelier Lyrique of Paris Opera.
Some of his appearances in opera include Alceste, Salome, Dialogues des Carmélites, Eugene Onegin, Tristan und Isolde, Manon Lescaut, Roméo et Juliette, Fidelio, La traviata, Otello, Lucia di Lammermoor, and Pagliacci.
De Barbeyrac was also named laureate of the 2011 International Queen Elisabeth Competition.