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. Moscow-born conductor Vladimir Jurowski, the chief conductor of the Rundfunk-Sinfonie Orchester Berlin, Principal Conductor of the London Philharmonic and Artistic Director of the Russian State Academic Symphony Orchestra, won the Conductor Award. His recent performances have included Enescu’s Oedipe with the London Philharmonic and at the George Enescu International Festival, his Salzburg Festival debut with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra in Berg’s Wozzeck, Richard Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos in Moscow, and the world premiere of Brett Dean’s Hamlet at Glyndebourne, which received the World Premiere Award. Jurowski was due to be performing in Hamburg that evening so had recorded a video message in which he thanked all the ensembles with which he had been involved in the past year.

MusicAeterna chamber choir, artistic director Teodor Currentzis, the resident chorus at Perm Opera, won the Chorus Award. The chorus’s recent performances have included Mozart’s La clemenza di Tito directed by Peter Sellars at the 2017 Salzburg Festival. Accepting the award, Marc de Mauny, general manager of Perm Opera and Ballet Theatre, said that it was good to celebrate that good things come out of Russia and that it was particularly important in these tense times, giving us something to hold on to. The MusicAeterna orchestra was also one of the finalists for the Orchestra Award (which was won by the orchestra of La Scala, Milan).

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, 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 Young Artist Award went to Canadian mezzo-soprano Wallis Giunta, and finalists for this award included the Russian mezzo-soprano Aigul Akhmetshina.

The live performance was provided by the Orpheus Sinfonia, conductor Oliver Gooch, with a chorus made up of past and current International Opera Bursary Award 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, soprano Camilla Tilling sang music from Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice and Noah Mosley conducted his own A History of Opera in 4 minutes, an enjoyable and imaginative whisk through 400 years of opera. 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.

Natasha Butterwick and Vladimir Jurowski

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