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12th Annual Opera News Awards Are Announced!


OPERA NEWS Editor in Chief F. Paul Driscoll today announced the recipients of the 12th Annual OPERA NEWS Awards. This year's honorees-stage director Robert Carsen, soprano Christine Goerke, conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin, tenor Matthew Polenzani, and mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade-will be feted at a black tie gala celebration on April 9th, 2017 at the Plaza Hotel in New York City. Tony Award winner Kelli O'Hara will be the special musical guest.

"OPERA NEWS looks forward to this celebration on April 9th," said Driscoll. "Opera lovers everywhere are grateful for the thrilling work these five wonderful men and women have done in the world's great opera houses. They are the best of the best-their artistry defines excellence in our profession, and we are proud to pay tribute to them. We are also excited that the marvelous Kelli O'Hara will join us to offer a musical tribute on the night of the awards gala."

2017 OPERA NEWS Award Recipients

Robert Carsen: Born in Toronto, the stage director and designer made his Met debut in 1997, with his staging of EUGENE ONEGIN. He has since returned to the Met to direct Boito's MEFISTOFELE (1999) and Verdi's FALSTAFF (2013). This season, Carsen directs the Met's new production of DER ROSENKAVALIER. Carsen has directed at all of the world's major opera houses, including Lyric Opera of Chicago, Canadian Opera Company, San Francisco Opera, the Aix-en-Provence Festival, the Salzburg Festival, the Cologne Opera and the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.

Editor in Chief F. Paul Driscoll observes: "Robert Carsen's elegant, imaginative stagings have dazzled audiences throughout North America and Europe. His visionary realizations of Tchaikovsky, Verdi and Boito have given Met audiences indelible memories; in April, New York will applaud another Carsen staging, when his superb production of DER ROSENKAVALIER bows at the Met."

Christine Goerke: Born and raised in New York State, the dramatic soprano graduated from SUNY Stonybrook in 1994, and was accepted into the Metropolitan Opera's Lindemann Young Artist Development Program the same year. Her career repertoire of more than thirty roles has ranged from Mozart and Handel to Berlioz, Strauss and Wagner. This season, Goerke sings Brünnhilde in GÖTTERDÄMMERUNG in Houston and Toronto, the title role in TURANDOT in Philadelphia and London, and Cassandre in LES TROYENS at Lyric Opera of Chicago. The Met has announced that Goerke will sing Brünnhilde in the company's next revival of Wagner's complete RING cycle.

Deputy Editor Henry Stewart writes: "When she sings, Christine Goerke sounds like one of the gods she often plays. Her molten-iron tone, diamond-precise upper register and orchestra-intimidating power have made her one of the most-sought-after interpreters of the dramatic-soprano repertoire at the world's greatest opera houses."

Yannick Nézet-Séguin: The accomplished conductor made his Met debut leading a new production of CARMEN in 2009. The Montreal native's other Met appearances have included new Met stagings of DON CARLO (2010), FAUST (2011) and OTELLO (2014), as well as revivals of LA TRAVIATA and RUSALKA. He has been artistic director and principal conductor of the Orchestre Metropolitain in Montreal since 2000, and is currently in his ninth season as music director of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra. Since 2012, Nézet-Séguin has been music director of the Philadelphia Orchestra. In 2016, Nézet-Séguin was named music director designate of the Metropolitan Opera; he becomes the company's music director in 2020-21, succeeding James Levine in that position. Nézet-Séguin conducts his first Met performances of DER FLIEGENDE HOLLÄNDER in April.

Digital Editor Adam Wasserman pays tribute: "Yannick Nézet-Séguin's impeccable, sophisticated leadership of canonical works has made him more than just a company favorite in the eight seasons since his Met debut. With breathtaking performances of CARMEN and FAUST, the Met's music director designate has shown himself to be consummate French stylist, while his performances of OTELLO, DON CARLO and LA TRAVIATA have pulsed with the rhythmic energy and orchestral detail of a supreme Verdian."

Matthew Polenzani: The international lyric tenor has sung more than 330 performances at the Met since his 1997 company debut. An Illinois native, Polenzani studied at Eastern Illinois University and the Yale School of Music before entering Lyric Opera of Chicago's Center for American Artists. This season at the Met, Polenzani performs the title role in Mozart's IDOMENEO, as well as the Italian Singer in DER ROSENKAVALIER and Don Ottavio in DON GIOVANNI. Polenzani has appeared in fourteen new productions at the Met: his previous Met triumphs include the title role in ROBERTO DEVEREUX, Nemorino in L'ELISIR D'AMORE, Tamino in DIE ZAUBERFLÖTE, Alfredo in LA TRAVIATA, Robert Dudley in MARIA STUARDA and Nadir in LES PÊCHEURS DE PERLES. Polenzani has also appeared regularly at Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera and LA Opera, as well as in Paris, London, Munich, Barcelona, Vienna and Salzburg, among other European cities.

Associate Editor Maria Mazzaro says: "The silky, sweetly spun lyricism of Matthew Polenzani's tenor conveys all the emotion, passion and beauty possible in the music he sings-whatever the language or style. He is a master of the classicism of Mozart, the passion of bel canto and the romanticism of French repertoire."

Frederica von Stade: The world renown mezzo-soprano was born in Somerville, New Jersey and attended Mannes College of Music. She made her Met debut in 1970, as a Genie in DIE ZAUBERFLÖTE, and sang a total of 300 performances for the company in New York and on tour. Particularly celebrated for her performances in Mozart, Rossini and French music, von Stade was one of the most beloved singers of her generation, equally at home on the recital stage and in the opera house. Her recent performances have included the world premieres of Ricky Ian Gordon's A COFFIN IN EGYPT and Jake Heggie's GREAT SCOTT.

Senior Editor Louise Guinther offers: "Frederica von Stade's grace, charm and dramatic verisimilitude enchanted audiences in a broad range of roles, from Mozart's Cherubino to Debussy's Mélisande. An artist of intelligence and disarming simplicity, she won a new place in the operatic pantheon for the lyric mezzo and set the standard for generations of stars to come."

The above honorees join an illustrious group of past recipients who include conductors, singers, directors and composers. They will be feted by Kelli O'Hara, who has established herself as one of Broadway's great leading ladies. Her portrayal of Anna Leonowens in the critically acclaimed revival of The King and I garnered her the 2015 Tony Award for Best Leading Actress in a Musical. Recently, O'Hara starred as Mrs. Darling in NBC's live telecast of Peter Pan and made her Metropolitan Opera debut in The Merry Widow with Renée Fleming. Other Broadway credits include The Bridges of Madison County, Nice Work If You Can Get It, South Pacific, and host of others. Concerts span from Carnegie Hall to Capitol Hill; while film and television credits include Sex & The City 2, Blue Bloods, and Alexander Hamilton. She is a frequent performer on PBS's live telecasts and the Kennedy Center Honors.

Individual benefactor tickets to the OPERA NEWS Awards are available for $850; individual President's Circle tickets at $1,200. In addition, Benefactor tables are available for $8,500; President's Circle tables at $12,000. Proceeds from the gala and its live and silent auction will benefit the education programs of The Metropolitan Opera Guild, which has published OPERA NEWS since 1936. A portion of each ticket purchase is tax-deductible as allowed by law. For event information or to purchase tickets, please visit The Metropolitan Opera Guild website or call 212-769-7009.


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 and is the only North American publication that covers opera internationally. Editor in Chief F. Paul Driscoll helms the monthly, which is a winner of four ASCAP-Deems Taylor Awards for excellence in music journalism. For more information and the latest opera news visit, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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