The Opera Australia Chorus, Barrie Kosky’s production of The Nose and director Simon Stone are among the 2017 finalists.

The finalists for the 2017 International Opera Awards have been announced, and the Opera Australia chorus has scored a nomination in the Best Chorus category.

The Opera Australia Chorus in Turandot, Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour. Photo by Prudence Upton

Over 100 candidates are in the running for 20 awards for their achievements over the 2016 calendar year. The finalists were chosen from a record 20,000 nominations by an expert international panel chaired by Opera magazine editor John Allison. Among the 21 panel members is Deborah Jones, a Sydney correspondent for Opera magazine and the national dance critic for The Australian.

The OA Chorus, under Chorus Master Anthony Hunt, is up against the Arnold Schoenberg Choir, Lyric Opera of Chicago, MusicAeterna, Oper Stuttgart and Opera North. Given that few of the panel members are likely to have seen many OA productions during 2016, the chance of the OA Chorus winning is probably slim, but the nomination is richly deserved and a great feather in its cap.

“I’ve stated publicly for some time that the Opera Australia Chorus is one of the finest opera choruses in the world, but I would say over the past 12 months, the OA Chorus has demonstrated that it is now the benchmark opera chorus worldwide,” OA Artistic Director Lyndon Terracini tells Limelight

Another OA success story is Barrie Kosky’s production of Shostakovich’s surreal comic opera The Nose, which has been nominated as Best New Production. A co-production between The Royal Opera House (where it premiered in October) and Opera Australia, The Nose will be presented in Australia in 2018.

Australian director Simon Stone is nominated as Best Newcomer for his debut opera production – Korngold’s Die Tote Stadt – for Theater Basel in September. Now based in Europe and renowned internationally for his theatre work, Stone directs Pelléas et Mélisande for Den Norske Opera in Oslo in April.

Finalists for Best Female Singer include Maria Bengtsson, Stéphanie d’Oustrac, Christiane Karg, Anna Netrebko, Antia Rachvelishvili and Daniela Sindram, while Lawrence Brownlee, Stéphane Degout, Eric Owens, Matthew Polenzani, Johan Reuter and Martin Winkler (who starred in The Nose) are nominated as Best Male Singer. Nominations for Best Opera Company include Houston Grand Opera, Oper Stuttgart, Opéra de Lyon, Opera Vlaanderen, Royal Opera House and Teatro alla Scala.

Founded in 2012 by opera lover and philanthropist Harry Hyman, the International Opera Awards aim to raise the profile of opera as an art form, recognise and reward success, and support the next generation of talent. The Awards raise money for the Opera Awards Foundation, a charity which awards bursaries to aspiring opera artists around the world including singers, directors, conductors, répétiteurs and accompanists.

The 2017 International Opera Awards are sponsored by Mazars in association with BBC Radio 3 and Opera magazine. The awards ceremony will take place on Sunday May 7 at the London Coliseum, hosted by BBC Radio 3 presenter Petroc Trelawny. As in previous years, the evening will feature live performances from internationally renowned singers. Artists already scheduled to perform include Australian singers Stuart Skelton and Lauren Fagan as well as Bryan Hymel and Rhian Lois.

A full list of nominations can be found HERE