Opera Australia and Sydney Theatre Company return laden with honours from the 2013 awards ceremony.

Opera Australia’s new production of Richard Strauss’s Salomeand the Sydney Theatre Company’s landmark adaptation of Kate Genville’s The Secret Riverwere the big winners at the 13th annual Helpmann Awards held at the Sydney Opera House last night. There was a tie for most awarded musical with the inventive Legally Blondetaking out most of the acting and musical honours while the dramatically underwhelming King Kongwon in most of the technical categories.

The glittering showbiz ceremony was co-hosted by Eddie Perfect and Christie Whelan-Browne and the gongs were dished out by a host of celebrity presenters including Baz Lurhmann and Sharon Millerchip.

In classical music, Salomewon Best Opera and Best Performer awards for Cheryl Barker (Salome), John Wegner (Jokanaan) and Jacqueline Dark (Herodias). Simone Young’s concert performance of Wagner’s Das Rheingoldat QPAC also won two awards.

As usual the awards attracted their fair share of criticism: Entries are self-nominated with organisations paying $50 per nomination; the shortlist is decided by representatives of the same organisations that have paid to get their candidates nominated; voters are only required to have seen two of...

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