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International Opera Awards (2019)

2019 International Opera Awards: OperaVision partners’ success

Congratulations to a number of our partners on their success at the 2019 International Opera Awards announced on 29 April at Sadler's Wells Theatre in London.

Opera Vlaanderen won the coveted award for Best Opera Company, a testament to the new artistic heights it has reached with Aviel Cahn at its helm for a decade. The company is known for its creative productions and ambitious programming. OperaVision recently shared an example of this with La Juive, Fromental Halévy's most famous work and one of the great achievements of French opera.

The full performance is available on OperaVision until 5 October and features sets and costumes by Johannes Leiacher, who was nominated for Best Designer at the Awards. Roy Cornelius Smith plays the Jewish goldsmith Éléazar, who sings the aria 'Rachel, quand du Seigneur' in Act IV. In it, he vows to get revenge on Cardinal de Brogni but suddenly realises that his hatred of Christians could lead to his adopted daughter’s death as well as his own.

 

La Juive - 'Rachel, quand du Seigneur'

Opera festivals get their own category at the International Opera Awards, and this year it was won by Janáček Brno Festival. ‘With this award, National Theatre Brno and its festival now stand amongst the best opera artists and ensembles in the world,’ said the theatre’s general director, Martin Glaser. ‘Considering this was only the 6th edition of the festival it is an almost unbelievable success.’ That most recent edition opened with The Cunning Little Vixen in a new production directed by Jiří Heřman, the artistic director of opera at National Theatre Brno. No opera is so closely connected with Brno and its surroundings as Janáček’s enchanting woodland tale, where the human and animal worlds intermingle.

The full performance is available on OperaVision until 17 May. In this insightful documentary, Jiří Heřman and dramaturg Patricie Částková delve into the history of the opera and the process of bringing it to the stage. It features interviews with the designers, several members of the cast and conductor Marko Ivanović.

Marek Olbrzymek

Behind the scenes at the Janáček Brno Festival

Orchestras and choruses are at the heart of any opera house. London’s Royal Opera House was nominated in both categories and won the award for Best Opera Orchestra. Mozart was a master of using the orchestra to full effect, best exemplified by the ending of his opera Don Giovanni.

Marc Minkowski conducts this dramatic final scene from the Royal Opera House’s production, directed by Kasper Holten and live-streamed on OperaVision last summer. In it, Leporello (Ildebrando D'Arcangelo) and the Commendatore (Willard White) try to persuade Don Giovanni (Mariusz Kwiecień) to repent for his sins or else spend eternity in hell.

Don Giovanni - 'The Commandatore scene'

It’s not just institutions and productions that are recognised at the International Opera Awards; individuals are celebrated, too. Waldemar Dąbrowski is General Manager of Polish National Opera and a former Minister of Culture. At the ceremony, he was presented with a special Leadership Award for his tireless dedication towards opera in his country. It’s thanks to him and his trusted team that a new production of Paderewski’s Manru could mark the centenary of Poland’s regained independence, for which the composer worked so hard, and open the current season at the opera house. This production was nominated as Best Rediscovered Work.

The full performance is available on OperaVision until 18 July. Directed by Marek Weiss and conducted by Grzegorz Nowak, it is a story of love in the face of prejudice and a timely warning against xenophobia and intolerance. In this extract from Act III, Manru (Peter Berger) is torn between loyalty for his wife and the freedom of the Gypsy life as promised to him by Aza (Monika Ledzion-Porczyńska), Jagu (Łukasz Goliński) and the seductive music of a fiddler (Stanisław Tomanek).

Manru - 'Manru, struny słodko brzmią'

Founded in 2012, the International Opera Awards aims to raise the profile of opera as an art form and to recognise and reward success in opera. But it is more than an annual celebration of excellence; it also generates funds for the Opera Awards Foundation to provide bursaries to nurture talent in opera from around the world. To date, the Foundation has supported almost 100 aspiring artists, including singers, directors, conductors, répétiteurs and accompanists.

We are grateful to the Opera Awards Foundation for all the artists they have supported that have since appeared on OperaVision. They include Polly Leech, who has so far performed on the platform in three productions, most recently as Abra in Vivaldi’s Juditha Triumphans from Dutch National Opera.

The full performance is available on OperaVision until 30 May. Gaëlle Arquez plays the daring widow Juditha, who in the aria 'Veni, veni me sequere fida’ reassures Abra, her handmaid, that everything will be fine so long as she trusts her and stays by her side.

Juditha Triumphans - 'Veni, veni, me sequere fida'

To see the full list of winners and nominees, go to the International Opera Awards website.