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Eve Queler to Receive 2012 Opera Index Distinguished Achievement Award

Opera Index presents its 2012 Distinguished Achievement Award to opera pioneer and Opera Orchestra of New York founder Eve Queler at its 28th annual black-tie winter gala on Sunday, January 15. The gala, held in the Grand Salon of the Jumeirah Essex House, at 160 Central Park South, begins at 6 p.m. with a reception in the Petit Salon. Presenting the award to Ms. Queler will be Renata Scotto, her longtime friend and colleague. Last year Opera Index presented Distinguished Achievement Awards to tenor George Shirley and posthumously to mezzo-soprano Shirley Verrett.

The Opera Index Winter Gala, hosted by its president Murray Rosenthal and including guests from opera and the theater, is the highlight of the non-profit organization’s year of activities, which since 1984 has boosted the careers of almost 300 young singers through its annual vocal competition. This year prizes totaling more than $40,000 were awarded to fifteen rising young singers.

Under the artistic direction of celebrated opera soprano and Opera Index artistic director Elaine Malbin, the Winter Gala will not only celebrate the extraordinary career of Eve Queler, but will also feature performances by six of the fifteen 2011 Opera Index competition winners in a program accompanied by pianist Michael Fennelly. They are baritone Zachary Nelson, who won the top prize of $10,000; mezzo–soprano Margaret Mezzacappa, who received $5,000; bass-baritone Joseph Barron, $4,000; tenor Paul Appleby, $3,000; baritone Steven LaBrie, $2,500, and Maria D’Amato, who received a $1000 Encouragement Grant.

Soprano Jennifer Rowley and baritone David Pershall, who both received $5,000 prizes, are unable to attend, since they will be in Oslo performing in La Bohème.

Seven additional $1000 Encouragement Grants were also awarded to soprano Allison Sanders, mezzo-sopranos J’nai Bridges and Kristina Lewis, tenors Viktor Antipenko, Adam Bonanni, and Kevin Ray, and baritone Julian Arsenault.

Tickets for the Opera Index Winter Gala range from $350 to $1,000. More information and tickets are available by phone at 212-706-9550 or by e-mailing Opera Index at operaindex@rcn.com

About Eve Queler
Eve Queler, the internationally renowned conductor and a native New Yorker, is recognized as a pioneer in the world of opera. As a guest conductor of orchestras of many international opera companies, and through her work as music director of The Opera Orchestra of New York (OONY), she is well known for conducting high-quality performances of seldom-heard masterpieces. She founded OONY in 1971 after having worked as a staff pianist and conductor at New York City Opera.

Last year she received the 2010 National Endowment for the Arts Lifetime Achievement in Opera Award, the nation’s highest honor for lifetime achievement in the field of opera, for her focus on rarely performed operas and her dedication to emerging singers. Eve Queler has led over 100 operas-in-concert at Carnegie Hall and her worldwide career has included opera engagements on four continents conducting such legendary singers as Carlo Bergonzi, Stephanie Blythe, Montserrat Caballé, Placido Domingo, Renée Fleming, Nicolai Gedda, Marcello Giordano, Dmitri Hvorostovsky, Aprile Millo, Renata Scotto, Richard Tucker, and Dolora Zajick. Equally at home with symphonic repertoire, Ms. Queler has conducted numerous symphony orchestras including the Philadelphia Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, the Montreal Orchestra, and the Orchestra Sinfonica Siciliana in Palermo, Sicily. In addition to her 2010 National Endowment award, she has received the Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (arguably the highest award presented by the French government) and the Sanford Medal, Yale University’s highest musical honor. Eve Queler has been a member of Opera Index’s advisory board since its inception and has attended galas and served as a judge for several of its vocal competitions.

About Opera Index
Opera Index, composed of opera devotees, is an outgrowth of The New York Opera Club, which was founded in the late 1950’s by William Wells, an opera lover and radio personality well known for his interviews with opera singers of the day. Opera Index, its name taken from Mr. Wells’s file of opera singers, became a formal non-profit organization in 1982 and two years later inaugurated its first annual opera competition for singers in the early days of their careers. Among the prize winners of the first competition were Suzanne Mentzer and Gary Lakes. Later winners have included Deborah Voigt, Susan Graham, Stephanie Blythe, Andrea Gruber, Michelle DeYoung, Elizabeth Futral, Christine Goerke, Bejun Mehta, Angela Meade, Eric Owens, and Anthony Roth Costanzo.

The first recipient of the Opera Index Distinguished Achievement Award was Zinka Milanov. Subsequent honorees have included Birgit Nilsson, Leonie Rysanek, Marilyn Horne, Roberta Peters, Samuel Ramey, Anna Moffo, Grace Bumbry, Rose Bampton, Theodor Uppman, Renata Scotto, Martina Arroyo, Regina Resnik, Jon Vickers, Sherrill Milnes, James Morris, Catherine Malfitano, Jessye Norman, Aprile Millo, Julius Rudel, Patrice Munsel, George Shirley, and Shirley Verrett.
For more information and a list of previous competition award recipients visit www.operaindexinc.org


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