The seventh annual Opera News Awards will be presented on Sunday, April 29 at The Plaza in New York City, paying tribute to five extraordinary artists who have made an invaluable contribution to the art form: sopranos Karita Mattila and Anja Silja, baritones Dmitri Hvorostovsky and Peter Mattei, and director Peter Sellars.
The official announcement of this year’s honorees appears in the September 2011 issue of Opera News, which is available on August 4 and features baritone Mariusz Kwiecien – the Metropolitan Opera’s new Don Giovanni – on its cover. All of the winners will be present at the gala awards dinner, which will feature celebrity presenters speaking about the awardees and introducing video performance clips. The April 2012 issue of Opera News will feature tributes to the five awardees, all distinguished members of the international operatic community.
The Opera News Awards were created in 2005. They recognize five individuals each year for distinguished achievement in the field of opera. Proceeds from the gala evening on April 29 will benefit the education programs of the Metropolitan Opera Guild.
The Opera News Awards include a special sweepstakes – introduced successfully last season – 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 a Manhattan hotel and VIP tickets to the Opera News Awards. No purchase is necessary to enter the sweepstakes.
The editors of the Metropolitan Opera Guild’s Opera News have offered brief pre-publication accolades to this year’s award recipients.
Senior Editor Louise T. Guinther pays tribute to Dmitri Hvorostovsky:
Dmitri Hvorostovsky’s charisma, glamour, and vocal prowess are without peer. Equally persuasive on recordings, on the recital stage, and in the opera house, Hvorostovsky is a singer whose artistry speaks to everyone.
Managing Editor Oussama Zahr salutes Peter Mattei:
Peter Mattei’s lustrous baritone – firm and generously produced, with an appealing softness around the edges – sets him apart today as a marvelous singer. But it’s his astonishing ability to inhabit a range of characters – from the frothiest comedy to the bleakest tragedy – that makes him an artist of the highest caliber.
Editor in Chief F. Paul Driscoll praises Karita Mattila:
Karita Mattila is a glorious singer whose thrilling, no-holds-barred commitment to her music makes her a singularly compelling and beloved artist. Audiences everywhere adore Karita Mattila because she gives her all at every performance.
Online Editor Adam Wasserman offers his appreciation of Peter Sellars:
The artistry of Peter Sellars has invited audiences to reconsider beloved pieces of the repertory as present-day myths, while his productions of contemporary works have a timeless beauty that makes opera houses seem the most vital of institutions. His work unites the public with music and drama in ways that remind us of our own humanity.
Features Editor Brian Kellow applauds Anja Silja:
Anja Silja is a dramatic soprano capable of churning up a visceral excitement that few others could match, and an actress for whom cheating the audience is unthinkable.
Commenting further about the winners of the seventh annual Opera News Awards, Driscoll notes: “Once again, the editors of Opera News take pride in celebrating the achievements of an extraordinary quintet of honorees. These five incomparable artists have enriched and inspired us all. It will be a privilege to welcome them to the Opera News Awards gala on April 29.”