Brett Dean’s Hamlet has triumphed at this year’s International Opera Awards, winning best World Premiere. The Australian composer’s much acclaimed opera had its premiere at Glyndebourne in June 2017, before being seen earlier this year at the Adelaide Festival.

Brett Dean. Photo © Bettina Stoess

The award for Female Singer went to Swedish soprano Malin Byström, beating out a strong list of contenders that included Carmen Giannattasio, Barbara Hannigan, Hui He, Ermonela Jaho and Eva-Maria Westbroek. The award for Male Singer went to Polish tenor Piotr Beczala, who was up against Günther Groissböck, Peter Mattei, Eric Owens, Simone Piazzola and Michael Spyres. Pretty Yende, last year’s winner for Solo Recital Recording, won the Readers’ Award with more than 10,000 online votes.

In the Young Singer category, Canadian mezzo Wallis Giunta came out ahead, with Australian soprano Lauren Fagan among the nominees. Elsewhere, best newcomer went to director Barbora Horáková Joly, who beat out a strong group of nominees that included Australian conductor Dane Lam.

Russian conductor Vladimir Jurowski, recently announced as the next music director of Bavarian State Opera, won an award for conducting. Australian Simone Young was also nominated, as was Marc Albrecht, Daniele Gatti, Fabio Luisi and Kazushi Ono. Mariusz Treliński triumphed in the Director category. The Bavarian State Opera won best Opera Company, while best Opera Orchestra went to the Teatro alla Scala, Milan.

In the best new production category, Deborah Warner’s staging of Billy Budd for Teatro Real beat out Barrie Kosky’s much talked about Meistersinger for Bayreuth. Other contenders included William Kentridge’s Wozzeck, Demis Volpi’s Death in Venice, Claus Guth’s La Clemenza di Tito, and Graham Vick’s Stiffelio.

Winning critical and audience acclaim upon its release, Erato’s starry recording of Berlioz’s Les Troyens, conducted by John Nelson with Marie-Nicole Lemieux, Joyce DiDonato and Michael Spyres, won for best Complete Opera Recording. Veronique Gens’ Visions, a recital disc of rare 19th and early 20th-century French works, won best Solo Recital Recording.

As announced in March, Spanish mezzo Teresa Berganza was given the Lifetime Achievement Award. In her acceptance speech, Berganza said “It is with great emotion that I receive this priceless prize on behalf of an entire generation – those still amongst us and those who’ve left us – hoping we’ve accomplished our mission, and now leaving the spotlight for you all. Many, many thanks.”

Full list of 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