Entertainment & Arts

Opera magazine to hold inaugural awards in London

Bryn Terfel, Angela Gheorghiu (2011)
Image caption Britain's Bryn Terfel is competing for best male singer at the awards in April

Opera magazine is to have its first annual international awards, presented at a ceremony in London on 22 April.

The Operas, the brainchild of the long-running publication and businessman Harry Hyman, hope to raise awareness of opera as it struggles with budget cuts.

Opera magazine editor John Allison said: "Artists put their life and soul into their work but a lot of good performances.. are not recognised.

"Hopefully these awards will raise opera in everyone's conscience."

In 2011, the world famous festival Glyndebourne said it would put on fewer regional shows after seeing its arts council grant cut.

"Opera houses all over the world are in a lot of difficulty at the moment as everything is being cut and everyone is feeling the pinch," Mr Allison told the Reuters new agency.

"Some smaller houses in the United States have closed," he added.

'Wider audience'

The awards will celebrate winners in 23 categories, including best female singer, best male singer, best conductor, best opera company, and best chorus.

Welsh baritone Bryn Terfel is among those shortlisted for best male singer, alongside tenors Aleksandrs Antonenko, Piotr Beczala, Joseph Calleja, Jonas Kaufmann and bass-baritone Luca Pisaroni.

Female singers in the running for the top award include Britain's Sarah Connolly, Joyce DiDonato, Evelyn Herlitzius, Catherine Naglestad, Nina Stemme, and Beatrice Uria-Monzon.

Two British conductors, Opera North's Richard Farnes and the Royal Opera House's Antonio Pappano will battle it out with Germany's Ingo Metzmacher and Christian Thielemann, and Italian Nicola Luisotti for the conductor trophy.

There will also be a lifetime achievement award and an award based on voting by readers of Opera magazine.

Awards for up-and-coming opera stars will include bursaries.

"It is important to give something back to help people's careers at a formative stage," said Mr Hyman, an opera fan.

"Opera kind of hides its light under a bushel. But we hope the awards will help bring opera to a wider audience."

Mr Allison said more than 1,500 nominations were received from 41 countries, ahead of the shortlist.

A panel of 10 opera experts, ranging from critics to singers, will decide the winners.

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