Cate Blanchett, Evgeny Kissin, operas La Traviataand Moby Dickamong 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...

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