Despite nominations for the Opera Australia Chorus, Barrie Kosky’s production of The Nose and director Simon Stone, Australians have lost out at this year’s International Opera Awards.

The 2017 winners were announced at a ceremony at the London Coliseum on May 7 and Russian soprano Anna Netrebko was awarded Best Female Singer for the first time since the event was founded in 2012. Australian audiences will have their first chance to hear Netrebko in the flesh this October as she will be making her debut Down Under, together with her husband tenor Yusif Eyvazov, in concerts in Melbourne and Sydney.

Renata Scotto

Best singer in the male category was awarded to American tenor Lawrence Brownlee, legendary Italian soprano and opera director, Renata Scotto, received the Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Opera Magazine Readers’ Award went to Peruvian tenor Juan Diego Flórez.

The international jury was comprised of 21 industry professionals based almost exclusively in the Northern Hemisphere and chaired by John Allison, editor of Opera magazine and classical music critic for the UK’s Daily Telegraph. With Deborah Jones, Sydney correspondent of Opera magazine and dance critic with The Australian, being the only Australian member on the panel, it is safe to say that the Opera Australia Chorus had little chance of success.

Founded by opera lover and philanthropist Harry Hyman, the International Opera Awards is an annual event that aims “to raise the profile of opera as an art form, to recognise and reward success in opera, and to generate funds for the Opera Awards Foundation to provide bursaries for aspiring talent in opera from around the world”.

Stuart Skelton

The awards night was a showcase for both current and emerging opera stars, with performances by Australian Heldentenor Stuart Skelton, Female Singer of the Year finalists Anita Rachvelishvili and Stéphanie d’Oustrac, Young Singer of the Year Louise Alder, as well as English bass Brindley Sherratt, American tenor Bryan Hymel, Australian soprano Lauren Fagan and 2014 Opera Awards Foundation Bursary recipient Rhian Lois.


WINNERS

CHORUS
Arnold Schoenberg Chor

CONDUCTOR
Philippe Jordan

DESIGNER
Klaus Grünberg

DIRECTOR
Christof Loy

EDUCATION & OUTREACH
Natalya Sats Children’s Opera Theatre, Moscow

FEMALE SINGER
Anna Netrebko

FESTIVAL
Wexford Festival Opera

LEADERSHIP IN OPERA
Bernard Foccroulle

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT
Renata Scotto

MALE SINGER
Lawrence Brownlee

NEW PRODUCTION
Saariaho: L’amour de loin, d. Robert Lepage (Metropolitan Opera)

NEWCOMER
Lorenzo Viotti (Conductor)

OPERA COMPANY
Opéra de Lyon

OPERA MAGAZINE READERS’ AWARD
Juan Diego Flórez

PHILANTROPIST
FEDORA

RECORDING (COMPLETE OPERA)
Pique Dame (BR Klassik)

RECORDING (SOLO RECITAL)
Pretty Yende: A Journey (Sony)

REDISCOVERED WORK
Żeleński: Goplana (Polish National Opera)

SPECIAL AWARD IN MEMORIAM
Alberto Zedda

WORLD PREMIERE
Thomas Adès: The Exterminating Angel (Salzburg Festival)

YOUNG SINGER
Louise Alder

2017 Jury

John Allison (chair)
Editor, Opera; critic, Daily Telegraph

David Agler
Artistic Director, Wexford Festival Opera

Aviel Cahn
Intendant, Opera Vlaanderen

Hugh Canning
Chief music critic, Sunday Times; member of Opera‘s editorial board

Rupert Christiansen
Opera critic, Daily Telegraph; member of Opera‘s editorial board

James Clutton
Director of Opera,Opera Holland Park

Serge Dorny
General Director, Opéra de Lyon

Neil Fisher
Deputy Arts Editor, The Times

Francisco José Folch
Critic, El Mercurio

Anthony Freud
General Director, President & CEO, Lyric Opera of Chicago

Deborah Jones
Sydney correspondent, Opera; national dance critic, The Australian

Joanna C. Lee
Contributor, Opera; columnist Opera (China)

Njabulo Madlala
Baritone

Hein Mulders
Intendant, Philharmonie Essen, Aalto-Musiktheater & Essener Philharmoniker

Nicholas Payne
Director, Opera Europa

Gerhard Persché
Correspondent, Opera, Opernwelt & Fono Forum

Christina Scheppelmann
Artistic Director General, Gran Teatre del Liceu

Matthew Shilvock
General Director, San Francisco Opera

Ken Smith
Critic, The Financial Times; columnist, Opera (China); commentator, RTHK Radio 4

Victoria Stapells
Contributor, Opera & Opera Canada.

Birgitta Svenden
CEO & Artistic Director, Royal Swedish Opera