2012 Opera News Awards Honorees Announced
New York, NY, August 7, 2012 – The editors of Opera News are pleased to announce the honorees for the 2012 Opera News Awards, paying tribute to five superb artists who have made an invaluable contribution to the art form: sopranos Mirella Freni and Dawn Upshaw, countertenor David Daniels, baritone Simon Keenlyside, and bass-baritone Eric Owens. The eighth annual Opera News Awards ceremony will take place on Sunday, April 21 at The Plaza 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.
The official announcement of this year’s honorees appears in the September 2012 issue of Opera News, which is available on August 6 and has Piotr Beczala on the cover. The Polish tenor performs this season at the Metropolitan Opera in Gounod’s Faust – his company role debut as the opera’s title character – and in a new production of Verdi’s Rigoletto. The September issue also offers the magazine’s annual preview of the year in opera. The April 2012 issue of Opera News will contain tributes to the five awardees, all distinguished members of the international opera community.
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 21 will benefit the education programs of the Metropolitan Opera Guild.
For the third 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 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 and in the September issue.
The editors of the Metropolitan Opera Guild’s Opera News have offered brief pre-publication accolades to this year’s award recipients. Online Editor Adam Wasserman salutes Mr. Daniels:
“David Daniels has established himself as more than a superbly elegant singer and an incisive actor; he is a trailblazer, who has redefined the emotional and musical range achievable by the male voice for both opera audiences and his fellow singers.”
Editor in Chief F. Paul Driscoll pays tribute to Ms. Freni:
“Mirella Freni’s beauty, charm and poise – and the unfailing loveliness of her voice – made her one of opera’s most beloved sopranos during an active singing career of more than fifty years. She remains prima donna assoluta in the hearts of opera lovers everywhere.”
Features Editor Brian Kellow applauds Mr. Keenlyside:
“Simon Keenlyside seems incapable of making a false move onstage. Not only does he have one of the most expressive baritone voices I’ve ever heard, he always seems to be completely in the moment dramatically. His work is never flashy, but it has an inner fire that few performers can match.”
Managing Editor Oussama Zahr extols the gifts of Mr. Owens:
“Bass-baritone Eric Owens has a soulful, capacious voice that he uses to imbue some of opera’s most mysterious and villainous characters with startling humanity. Everything he sings glows with his integrity as an artist.”
Senior Editor Louise Guinther praises Ms. Upshaw:
“Dawn Upshaw represents the highest ideals of pristine musicianship, intellectual curiosity, and artistic integrity. She brings a blend of all-American earnestness and instinctive passion to everything she does: Dawn Upshaw opens not only the ears of her audiences but their hearts and minds as well.
Commenting further about the winners of the seventh annual Opera News Awards, Driscoll notes: “All five of this year’s honorees are blessed with the artistic integrity and expressive generosity that inspire everyone who cares about the art form. The editors of Opera News could not be more pleased to celebrate their extraordinary achievements, and look forward with the greatest enthusiasm to welcoming them to the Opera News Awards gala on April 21.”
Beyond offering the opportunity to pay tribute to the distinguished achievement 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 social and political leaders who support opera – to come together in a spirit of camaraderie and celebration.
Previous Opera News Awards honorees:
2005: James Conlon, Régine Crespin, Plácido Domingo, Susan Graham, Dolora Zajick
2006: Ben Heppner, James Levine, René Pape, Renata Scotto, Deborah Voigt
2007: Olga Borodina, Stephanie Blythe, Thomas Hampson, Leontyne Price, Julius Rudel
2008: John Adams, Natalie Dessay, Renée Fleming, Marilyn Horne, Sherrill Milnes
2009: Martina Arroyo, Joyce DiDonato, Gerald Finley, Philip Glass, Shirley Verrett
2010: Jonas Kaufmann, Riccardo Muti, Patricia Racette, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Bryn Terfel
2011: Dmitri Hvorostovsky, Peter Mattei, Karita Mattila, Anja Silja, Peter Sellars