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Helpmann Awards revealed at the Sydney Opera House

Features - Classical Music | Opera | Light Classics | Stage

Helpmann Awards revealed at the Sydney Opera House

by Melissa Lesnie on September 25, 2012 (September 25, 2012) filed under Classical Music | Opera | Light Classics | Stage | Comment Now
Cate Blanchett, Evgeny Kissin, operas La Traviata and Moby Dick among the big winners.

The 2012 Helpmann Awards, announced yesterday in a red carpet ceremony at the Sydney Opera House, showcased the highest standards of performance and production Australian arts and entertainment. The star-studded evening featured performances by The Australian Ballet (and, in stark contrast, cabaret star Trevor Ashley as Fat Swan); Lisa McCune, Teddy Tahu Rhodes and their South Pacific castmates; Cirque du Soleil, and a surprise appearance by Hugh Jackman to present the gong for Best Musical, rounding out a year in which underdogs and adventurers got the seal of approval alongside the heavyweights.

In opera, Emma Matthews continued her streak as the most awarded individual in the Helpmanns, for her role in La Traviata – not even the driver of the barge that carried Opera Australia's hulking Swarovski chandelier was forgotten in her acceptance speech for Best Female Performer in an Opera. Her male counterpart was American tenor Anthony Dean Griffey for his brave portrayal of Lennie in Of Mice and Men. Mitchell Butel, Ko-Ko in The Mikado, scooped Best Male Performer in a Musical, adding to a total count of six awards for Opera Australia. But the State Opera of South Australia won out in three categories for its bold production of the contemporary opera by Jake Heggie, Moby Dick: Best Opera, Best Direction of an Opera (Leonard Foglia) and Best Male Performer in a Supporting Role (Grant Doyle).

In musicals, the low-budget, small-scale Grey Gardens was the surprise hit, with Best Female Actor (Pamela Rabe), Best Female Actor in a Supporting Role (Nancye Hayes) and Best Direction (Roger Hodgman).  But the glitzy A Chorus Line took home top honours and the final award of the evening, Best Musical.

Another relatively low-budget show, Griffin Theatre Company's Angela's Kitchen, was proclaimed Best New Australian Work, with its lead Paul Capsis winning a "Bobby" for Best Male Actor in a Play. Cate Blanchett dedicated the Best Female Actor gong to her son Dashiell in the audience, and thanked her colleague Benedict Andrews (Best Direction of a Play) for his work on Sydney Theatre Company's Gross und Klein.

Russian piano legend Evgeny Kissin won out over glamorous violinist Anne-Sofie Mutter for Best Individual Classical Music Performance for his Australian debut tour with the Sydney Symphony and Brisbane Festival. Accepting his second award of the evening for his Chopin (Best Symphony Orchestral Concert), the principal cellist of the SSO praised his genius, while adding that he is "a rather odd man".

For the full list of 2012 Helpmann Award winners, continue to the following pages. 

Helpmann Awards: 2012 Winners

Best Male Actor in a Supporting Role in a Musical

Bert LaBonte
An Officer and a Gentleman

Best Female Actor in a Supporting Role in a Musical

Nancye Hayes
Grey Gardens (The Production Company) 

Best Male Actor in a Supporting Role in a Play

Bob Hornery
The Importance of Being Earnest (Melbourne Theatre Company)

Best Female Actor in a Supporting Role in a Play

Robyn Nevin
Summer of the Seventeenth Doll (Belvoir)

Best Costume Design

Toni Maticevski and Richard Nylon
Aviary: A Suite for the Bird
Phillip Adams BalletLab, Melbourne Festival 2011

Best Scenic Design

Brian Thomson
La Traviata
Opera Australia: Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour

Best Lighting Design

Paul Jackson
Little Match Girl
Malthouse Theatre in association with Meow Meow Revolution

Best Sound Design

Tony David Cray
La Traviata
Opera Australia: Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour

Best International Contemporary Concert

Prince
Welcome 2 Australia

Best Contemporary Music Festival

MONA FOMA
Museum of Old and New Art, Tasmania

Best Australian Contemporary Concert

Kylie Aphrodite
Les Folies Tour 2011
Kylie Minogue and The Frontier Touring Company

Best Choreography in a Dance or Physical Theatre Production

Stephen Page
Belong
Bangarra Dance Theatre

Best Choreography in a Musical

Kelly Devine
Rock of Ages

Best Direction of a Musical

Roger Hodgman
Grey Gardens (The Production Company)

Best Direction of an Opera

Leonard Foglia
Moby Dick
State Opera of South Australia

Best Direction of a Play

Benedict Andrews
Gross und Klein
Sydney Theatre Company

Best Special Event

La Traviata
Opera Australia: Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour

Lotterywest Festival Celebration: Place Des Anges by Les Studios De Cirque
2012 Perth International Arts Festival

Best Original Score

David Page and Steve Francis
Belong
Bangarra Dance Theatre

Best Individual Classical Music Performance

Evgeny Kissin
Presented by Sydney Symphony and Brisbane Festival

Best Chamber &/or Instrumental Ensemble Concert

Tafelmusik 'The Galileo Project: Music of the Spheres'
Musica Viva Australia

Best Symphony Orchestra Concert

Evgeny Kissin Plays Chopin
Sydney Symphony

Best Music Direction

Iain Grandage
Little Match Girl
Malthouse Theatre in association with Meow Meow Revolution

Best Male Performer in a Supporting Role in an Opera

Grant Doyle
Moby Dick
State Opera of South Australia

Best Female Performer in a Supporting Role in an Opera

Orla Boylan
Elektra
A Co-Production of West Australian Opera, ThinIce, Perth International Arts Festival and Opera Australia

Best New Australian Work

Paul Capsis, Julian Meyrick and Hilary Bell
Angela's Kitchen
Griffin Theatre Company

Best Comedy Performer

Tim Minchin
Tim Minchin vs The Orchestras Round II

Best Cabaret Performer

Meow Meow
Little Match Girl
Malthouse Theatre in association with Meow Meow Revolution

Best Regional Touring Production

Namatjira
Big hART, created with the Namatjira family

Best Presentation for Children

Boats
Terrapin Puppet Theatre

Best Visual or Physical Theatre Production

CIRCA
Circa

Best Male Dancer in a Dance or Physical Theatre Production

Paul White
Anatomy of an Afternoon
Martin del Amo, Performing Lines and Sydney Festival

Best Female Dancer in a Dance or Physical Theatre Production

Charmene Yap
2 One Another
Sydney Dance Company

Best Male Performer in an Opera

Anthony Dean Griffey
Of Mice & Men
Opera Australia

Best Female Performer in an Opera

Emma Matthews
La Traviata
Opera Australia: Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour

Best Male Actor in a Musical

Mitchell Butel
The Mikado
Opera Australia

Best Female Actor in a Musical

Pamela Rabe
Grey Gardens
The Production Company

Best Male Actor in a Play

Paul Capsis
Angela's Kitchen
Griffin Theatre Company

Best Female Actor in a Play

Cate Blanchett
Gross und Klein
Sydney Theatre Company

Best Ballet or Dance Work

Can We Talk About This?
Presented by DV8 Physical Theatre and Sydney Opera House. Co-produced with Théâtre de la
Ville and Festival d'Automne, Paris, National Theatre of Great Britain and Dansens Hus Stockholm.

Best Opera

Moby Dick
State Opera of South Australia

Best Play

Ganesh Versus the Third Reich
Presented by Back to Back Theatre, Malthouse Theatre and Melbourne Festival

Best Musical

A Chorus Line
Tim Lawson in association with the Adelaide Festival Centre