Simone Young, Barrie Kosky, Brett Dean, Dane Lam and Lauren Fagan – are among the artists nominated for this year’s International Opera Awards, the best Australian showing since the Awards were launched in 2013. The finalists were selected by an international jury of 28, chaired by Opera Magazine Editor John Allison and including Opera Queensland outgoing AD Lindy Hume and Opera Australia head Lyndon Terracini.

“It’s gratifying to see how the International Opera Awards just keep growing,” said jury Chairman John Allison. “With a record number of nominations to consider, and our biggest and most international jury yet, I’m delighted to say that our exciting shortlists – covering six continents and around 30 countries – reflect the truly cosmopolitan nature of the art form. Despite the challenges faced by opera companies almost everywhere, opera is vibrantly alive.”

Young is nominated for Best Conductor in an impressive field that includes Daniele Gatti, Vladimir Jurowski and Fabio Luisi. Kosky is recognised for his acclaimed and thought-provoking staging of Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg at this year’s Bayreuth Festival, while Dean is nominated for Hamlet, his second opera, which had its highly successful premiere at Glyndebourne last June and is already headed to this year’s Adelaide Festival.

Particularly satisfying are the nominations for two Australian rising stars: Soprano Lauren Fagan, who is up for Best Young Singer, and conductor Dane Lam who is recognised in the Newcomer category. Fagan, a graduate of the Jette Parker Program at the Royal Opera House has been exciting audiences at home as well as in the UK. Lam has had considerable success in London as well as working in China where he is Principal Conductor of the Xi’an Symphony Orchestra. By complete coincidence, Fagan sang Donna Anna in Opera Holland Park’s Don Giovanni last year, in a production conducted by Lam. The pair will be reunited for Richard Strauss’s Four Last Songs in Xi’an this April.

“I am terrifically surprised and thrilled to be a finalist in the Newcomer category in the IOA for 2018,” Lam told Limelight. “It’s been quite the journey from the suburbs of Brisbane to this nomination and I’ve enjoyed it all, working alongside and learning from some brilliant artists around the world. I’m nominated with some brilliant colleagues as fellow finalists for this award and that in itself is heartening; the future of opera is vibrant and in very safe hands.”

Among the vocal categories, Malin Byström, Carmen Giannattasio, Barbara Hannigan, Hui He, Ermonela Jaho and Eva-Maria Westbroek will battle it out for Best Female Singer, while the Best Male Singer will pit Piotr Beczała against Günther Groissböck, Peter Mattei, Eric Owens, Simone Piazzola and Michael Spyres.

Australian opera fans will be pleased to see the nomination for William Kentridge’s production of Wozzeck. The applauded Salzburg staging is a coproduction with the New York Met, the Canadian Opera Company and Opera Australia, so might be expected to feature in the company’s 2019 or 2020 season.

Meanwhile, the general public are invited to vote for one of Cecilia Bartoli, Joyce DiDonato, Bryan Hymel, Ambrogio Maestri, Karita Mattila, René Pape, Luca Pisaroni or Pretty Yende, all nominated for the Readers Award.

The International Opera Awards were created by opera lover and philanthropist Harry Hyman with Stuart Skelton the first winner of the  Best Male Singer category back in 2013. The Awards raise money for the Opera Awards Foundation, a charity that provides bursaries to aspiring operatic talent around the world.

The 2018 International Opera Awards will take place on Monday April 9 at the London Coliseum. BBC Radio 3 will broadcast highlights in a special 90-minute programme on Sunday April 15 at 7.30pm, UK time.

For the full list of nominations, see below:

Bayerische Staatsoper, Munich
Komische Oper, Berlin
La Fenice, Venice
MusicAeterna, Perm
San Francisco Opera
Teatro Real, Madrid

Marc Albrecht
Daniele Gatti
Vladimir Jurowski
Fabio Luisi
Kazushi Ono
Simone Young

Charles Edwards
Christof Hetzer
Stuart Nunn
Dieter Richter
Paul Steinberg
Anna Viebrock

David Bösch
David Hermann
Tobias Kratzer
David McVicar
Lydia Steier
Mariusz Treliński

Chicago Opera Theater
Florida Grand Opera
Garsington Opera, Buckinghamshire
La Monnaie, Brussels
Opera Holland Park, London
Polish National Opera

Malin Byström
Carmen Giannattasio
Barbara Hannigan
Hui He
Ermonela Jaho
Eva-Maria Westbroek

Bayreuth Festival
Festival Verdi Parma
Opera Forward, Amsterdam
Opera Philadelphia O17
Santa Fe Opera

Piotr Beczała
Günther Groissböck
Peter Mattei
Eric Owens
Simone Piazzola
Michael Spyres

Berg: Wozzeck, d. William Kentridge (Salzburg Festival)
Britten: Billy Budd, d. Deborah Warner (Teatro Real)
Britten: Death in Venice, d. Demis Volpi (Oper Stuttgart)
Mozart: La clemenza di Tito, d. Claus Guth (Glyndebourne)
Verdi: Stiffelio, d. Graham Vick (Teatro Regio di Parma)
Wagner: Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, d. Barrie Kosky (Bayreuth Festival)

Gianmaria Aliverta (director)
Jordan de Souza (conductor)
David Hertzberg (composer)
Barbora Horáková Joly (director)
Dane Lam (conductor)
Giedre Slekyte (conductor)

Bayerische Staatsoper, Munich
La Fenice, Venice
Lyric Opera of Chicago
Oper Graz
Opera North, Leeds
Teatro Real, Madrid

Bayerische Staatsoper, Munich
Bayreuth Festival
Deutsche Oper, Berlin
Lyric Opera of Chicago
MusicAeterna, Perm
Teatro alla Scala, Milan

Cecilia Bartoli
Joyce DiDonato
Bryan Hymel
Ambrogio Maestri
Karita Mattila
René Pape
Luca Pisaroni
Pretty Yende

Andriessen: Theatre of the World (Nonesuch)
Berlioz: Les Troyens (Erato)
Lully: Armide (Aparté)
Martinů: The Greek Passion (Oehms)
Méhul: Uthal (Palazzetto Bru Zane)
Wagner: Lohengrin (Deutsche Grammophon)

Sophie Bevan: Perfido! (Signum Classics)
Joyce El-Khoury: Echo & Michael Spyres: Espoir (Opera Rara)
Juan Diego Flórez: Mozart Arias (Sony)
Véronique Gens: Visions (Alpha)
Jonas Kaufmann: L’Opéra (Sony)
Camilla Tilling: Gluck & Mozart Arias (BIS)

Blomdahl: Aniara (Malmö Opera)
Ginastera: Bomarzo (Teatro Real)
Hindemith: Die Harmonie der Welt (Landestheater Linz)
Isouard: Cendrillon (Manhattan School of Music)
Keiser: Oktavia (Innsbrucker Festwochen der Alten Musik)
Krenek: Der Diktator; Schwergewicht, oder Die Ehre der Nation; Das geheime Königreich    (Oper Frankfurt)

Mason Bates: The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs (Santa Fe Opera)
Chaya Czernowin: Infinite Now (Opera Vlaanderen)
Brett Dean: Hamlet (Glyndebourne)
Avner Dorman: Wahnfried (Badisches Staatstheater)
Sebastian Fagerlund: Autumn Sonata (Finnish National Opera)
Julian Grant: The Nefarious, Immoral yet Highly Profitable Enterprise of Mr Burke and Mr Hare (Boston Lyric Opera)
Arnulf Herrmann: Der Mieter (Oper Frankfurt)
Tang Jianping: 170 Days in Nanking (Jiangsu Centre for the Performing Arts)

Aigul Akhmetshina
Liparit Avetisyan
Gordon Bintner
Amartuvshin Enkhbat
Lauren Fagan
Wallis Giunta
Anush Hovhannisyan
Isabella Lee
Federica Lombardi
Natalya Romaniw

The 2018 Jury comprised:

Michael Ajzenstadt Artistic Administrator, Israeli Opera

John Allison Editor, Opera; classical music critic, The Daily Telegraph

Nicolas Blanmont Chief classical music critic, La Libre Belgique; correspondent for Opera (Belgium, France and Switzerland); opera critic for RTBF Musiq3

Aviel Cahn Intendant, Opera Vlaanderen; General Director designate of Le Grand Théâtre de Genève

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

James Clutton Director of Opera, Opera Holland Park

Waldemar Dąbrowski General Manager of Teatr Wielki – Polish National Opera

Neil Fisher Deputy Arts Editor, The Times

Lindy Hume Opera director; Artistic Director, Opera Queensland; Artistic Director, Ten Days on the Island (Tasmania’s state-wide arts festival)

Joanna C. Lee Correspondent for Opera (China)

George Loomis Correspondent for Opera (USA),, The Financial Times

Max Loppert Correspondent for Opera (Italy)

Fiona Maddocks Chief Classical Music Critic; The Observer; member of Opera’s editorial board

Njabulo Madlala Baritone; Artistic and Executive Director, Voices of South Africa

Anne Midgette Chief classical music critic, The Washington Post

Barbara Minghetti Artistic Director, Macerata Opera Festival

Evans Mirageas Artistic Director of Cincinnati Opera; Vice President of Artistic Planning at The Atlanta Symphony

Annilese Miskimmon Opera director; Director of Opera of Den Norske Opera and Ballet

Nicholas Payne Director, Opera Europa

Wiebke Roloff Contributor, Opernwelt

Christina Scheppelmann Artistic Director General, Gran Teatre del Liceu

Sebastian F. Schwarz Founder and jury chair of the Glyndebourne Cup

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

Victoria Stapells Correspondent for Opera (Spain); contributor, Opera Canada

Birgitta Svendén CEO & Artistic Director, Royal Swedish Opera

James C. Taylor Correspondent for Opera (USA)

Lyndon Terracini Artistic Director of Opera Australia

Thomas Yaksic Consultant for Theatre Projects (Chile)