Honorees Announced for Ninth Annual Opera News Awards
The editors of Opera News are pleased to announce the honorees for the ninth annual Opera News Awards, paying tribute to five superb artists who have made invaluable contributions to the art form: director Patrice Chéreau, tenor Juan Diego Flórez, mezzo-soprano Christa Ludwig, bass-baritone James Morris and soprano Nina Stemme. The Opera News Awards ceremonywill take place on Sunday, April 13 at the Plaza Hotel in New York City. All the winners - and a host of the city's cultural, civic, and social luminaries - will be present at the gala awards dinner, which will feature celebrity presenters speaking about the awardees and introducing video performance clips.
Created in 2005, the Opera News Awards recognize five individuals each year for distinguished achievement in the field of opera. Proceeds from the gala evening on April 13 will benefit the education programs of the Metropolitan Opera Guild. The official announcement of this year's honorees appears in the October 2013 issue of Opera News, which is available on September 11 and has composer Nico Muhly on the cover, in connection with the performance of his opera Two Boys at the Met. The April 2014 issue of Opera News will contain tributes to the five awardees, all distinguished members of the international opera community.
For the fourth consecutive season, the Opera News Awards includes a special sweepstakes that will give a lucky winner round-trip air transportation for two to New York, provided by American Airlines, as well as a two-night stay at the Trump International Hotel and Tower and VIP tickets to the Opera News Awards. No purchase is necessary to enter the sweepstakes; details are available at www.operanews.com/ONawards.
The editors of the Metropolitan Opera Guild's Opera News have offered brief pre-publication accolades to this year's award recipients. Editor-in-Chief F. Paul Driscoll praises Mr. Chéreau:
"With his brilliant Bayreuth staging of Der Ring des Nibelungen, Patrice Chéreau gave Wagner's masterwork new vitality and relevance. Chéreau challenges and enlightens audiences with his supremely intelligent and uncompromising work in opera, theater and film. His Met production of From the House of the Dead was one of the great opera experiences of the last decade, and his recent staging of Strauss's Elektra at the Aix Festival was the unquestioned triumph of the summer season in Europe."
Associate Editor Tristan Kraft applauds Mr. Flórez:
"Juan Diego Flórez has that combination of style, taste, acting ability, and vocal prowess that would have made him a star in any era, not just ours. He has a way of reminding opera-goers that singing opera not only requires great talent but can be great fun."
Senior Editor Louise Guinther pays tribute to Ms. Ludwig:
"The career of Christa Ludwig shines as a beacon of compleat artistry; she inhabited the distinct worlds of opera and lieder with equal measures of grace, generosity, and sophistication, bringing her lush, unmistakable mezzo timbre and her extraordinary textual acuity to the most overtly dramatic role of the lyric stage, as well as to the most delicately shaded nuance of art song."
Features Editor Brian Kellow extols the gifts of Mr. Morris:
"James Morris's best performances have been marked by both grandeur and subtlety, a combination of qualities that made him the leading Wotan of his generation. An impressive, imposing sound was never quite enough for him; he could also take us by surprise with moments of great beauty and finesse."
Online Editor Adam Wasserman salutes Ms. Stemme:
"Nina Stemme has emerged as the indisputable dramatic soprano of her generation. With her molten midrange, gleaming top and generous phrasing, Stemme makes real the joys and sorrows of Wagner, Strauss, and Puccini heroines in a manner that is at once classic in style and unlike anything we've heard before."
Commenting further about the winners of the ninth annual Opera News Awards, the magazine's Editor-in-Chief, F. Paul Driscoll, notes:
"The depth and range of achievements of this year's five honorees is breathtaking. With their total commitment to the art form, these artists represent the very best in the world of opera, and the editors of Opera News look forward with enthusiasm to celebrating their work at the gala in April."
Beyond offering the opportunity to pay tribute to the distinguished achievements of some of the leading artists of our time, the Opera News Awards gala dinner has become an important and much-anticipated date on the opera community's calendar: a time for singers, artistic administrators, and managers - as well as those social and political leaders who support opera - to come together in a spirit of camaraderie and celebration.
American Airlines and Trump International Hotel and Tower are the presenting sponsors for the Opera News Awards sweepstakes.
Opera News has been published by the Metropolitan Opera Guild since 1936; it has the largest circulation of any classical music magazine in the United States. The magazine, published monthly, is a winner of three ASCAP-Deems Taylor Awards for excellence in music journalism.
Previous Opera News Awards honorees:
Eighth (2012-13): Mirella Freni, Dawn Upshaw, David Daniels, Simon Keenlyside, Eric Owens
Seventh (2011-12): Dmitri Hvorostovsky, Peter Mattei, Karita Mattila, Anja Silja, Peter Sellars
Sixth (2010-11): Jonas Kaufmann, Riccardo Muti, Patricia Racette, Kiri Te Kanawa, Bryn Terfel
Fifth (2009-10): Martina Arroyo, Joyce DiDonato, Gerald Finley, Philip Glass, Shirley Verrett
Fourth (2008-9): John Adams, Natalie Dessay, Renée Fleming, Marilyn Horne, Sherrill Milnes
Third (2007-8): Olga Borodina, Stephanie Blythe, Thomas Hampson, Leontyne Price, Julius Rudel
Second (2006-7): Ben Heppner, James Levine, René Pape, Renata Scotto, Deborah Voigt
First (2005-6): James Conlon, Régine Crespin, Plácido Domingo, Susan Graham, Dolora Zajick
Patrice Chéreau was born in Lézigné, Maine-et-Loire, France, and began directing professionally for the theater at the age of 19. Chéreau made opera history in 1976, with his revolutionary staging of Wagner's Ring at the Bayreuth Festival. Chéreau's production set the action of the trilogy in the context of the Industrial Revolution of the 19th century, and has been called one of the most influential opera stagings of all time. The Chéreau Ring was taped at Bayreuth and later televised internationally.
Also acclaimed as a film director, Chéreau's movies include L'homme blessé (1983), Queen Margot (1994), Those Who Love Me Can Take the Train (1998), Intimacy (2001), Son frère (2003), Gabrielle (2005), and Persécution (2009). In 2010, Chéreau was a guest curator at the Louvre, where he incorporated dance, opera, theater, film, and painting in a show titled Les visages et les corps(Faces and Bodies). Chéreau's film appearances as an actor include General Montcalm in The Last of the Mohicans (1992), Max in Claude Berri's Lucie Aubrac (1997), and Thomas Brandt in Michael Haneke's Time of the Wolf (2003).