2021 International Opera Awards

In association with: The Nexus Group

Founding Media Partner: Opera Magazine

2020 winners to be revealed in virtual event on Monday May 10

Exclusive performances from stars of the opera world

Event will raise funds for Artist Hardship Fund


[Monday 8 March 2021] The International Opera Awards has today announced the date of its 2021 Awards, taking place as an online event on Monday 10 May. After the planned 2020 live ceremony was forced off stage by the coronavirus pandemic, the virtual event will see the long-awaited announcement of the 2020 winners, as well as paying tribute to the resilience of the opera industry during the past year. The event will be streamed to ticketholders worldwide from 6.30pm GMT on Monday 10 May and available on demand afterwards for a month.

The evening will also raise funds for the Opera Awards Foundation Artist Hardship Fund, established last year to provide emergency grants for young artists affected by the pandemic.

Hosted by BBC Radio 3’s Petroc Trelawny, the virtual gala will feature exclusive performances from winners and other famous names, with more details to be announced in the coming weeks.

Two opera companies top the 2020 shortlist with recognition in three categories each; Deutsche Oper am Rhein (Education & Outreach, New Production, World Premiere) and Teatro Real (Opera Company, Opera Orchestra and World Premiere). A number of leading opera companies have two nominations each: Royal Danish Opera (Chorus, Rediscovered Work), La Fenice (Education & Outreach, Opera Orchestral), Royal Opera House (New Production, Opera Company), La Monnaie (New Production, Opera Company), Bayerische Staatsoper (New Production, Opera Orchestra), Opera Vlaanderen (Chorus, Opera Orchestra) and Deutsche Oper (Chorus, World Premiere).

In the highly prized singer categories: Female, Male, Young Singer and Opera Magazine Readers’ Award, the list of glittering finalists includes soprano Lise Davidsen who was shortlisted in the Young Singer category in 2017 and is now in the running for this year’s Female Singer award alongside Maria Agresta, Christine Goerke, Kate Lindsey, Lisette Oropesa and Elza van den Heever.

Conductor Finnegan Downie Dear, a former recipient of an Opera Awards Foundation bursary in 2015, is a finalist in the Newcomer category.

This is a particularly strong year for female composers in the World Premiere category with Raquel García-Tomás’ Je suis narcissiste (Teatro Real), Elena Kats-Chernin’s Whiteley (Opera Australia) and Ellen Reid’s Pulitzer prize-winning work, p r i s m (Beth Morrison Projects) all shortlisted for the award.

The full list of finalists is detailed below.

The shortlist was compiled by an impressive international jury of opera critics, administrators and performers from 20 different countries and chaired by John Allison, editor of Opera magazine (the Founding Media Partner of the Awards) and classical music critic of The Daily Telegraph. The winners of all categories, except the Readers’ Award, are also decided by the jury.

Harry Hyman, founder of the Awards, said:
After the unprecedented challenges of 2020, the opera world deserves a celebration more than ever. We are excited to be bringing the Awards back in virtual form and to welcome our most international audience yet. Although nothing can replace the thrill of live theatre, this will without doubt be a very special night as we pay tribute to the best and brightest of our industry.

John Allison, chair of the Jury, said:
I’m delighted that at last we can reveal our exciting winners and celebrate all the strong shortlisted talent. After an incredibly tough year of disruption, this is a moment for the operatic world to come together, and we’re happy that the online format allows people to join in from around the world.

The Awards, founded by philanthropist Harry Hyman in 2012, aim to raise the profile of opera as an art form, to recognise and reward success in opera and to generate funds to provide bursaries for aspiring operatic talent from around the world. Since 2012 over £400,000 has been raised by the Opera Awards Foundation, going to more than 100 bursary recipients.

In 2020, the Foundation established an Artist Hardship Fund, providing emergency grants to previous bursary recipients facing financial hardship due to the pandemic. In 2021 the Fund aims to re-open grant applications more broadly to other young and emerging artists affected by the crisis.


Booking for the virtual Gala Event on 10 May is now open, with tickets priced from just £10. For more information, visit: www.operaawards.org/awards/

Watch highlights from the 2019 International Opera Awards here.


Deutsche Oper, Berlin
Metropolitan Opera
Opera Vlaanderen
Royal Danish Opera
Welsh National Opera
Teatro Verdi, Trieste

Alain Altinoglu
Riccardo Frizza
Edward Gardner
Oksana Lyniv
Joana Mallwitz
Kirill Petrenko

Lizzie Clachan
Aleksandar Denić
Alban Ho Van
Christian Schmidt
Małgorzata Szczęśniak
Raimund Orfeo Voigt

Valentina Carrasco
Robert Carsen
Paul Curran
Lotte De Beer
Lydia Steier
Graham Vick

Birmingham Opera Company
Blackheath Halls Community Opera
Deutsche Oper am Rhein
La Fenice
Opera North
Theater an der Wien

Maria Agresta
Lise Davidsen
Christine Goerke
Kate Lindsey
Lisette Oropesa
Elza van den Heever

Donizetti Opera Festival, Bergamo
Festival Castell de Peralada
George Enescu Festival, Bucharest
Macerata Opera Festival
O19 (Opera Philadelphia)
Salzburg Festival

Carlos Álvarez
Javier Camarena
Stephen Gould
René Pape
George Petean
Russell Thomas

Andrea Bernard (director)
Alpesh Chauhan (conductor)
Finnegan Downie Dear (conductor)
Marie Jacquot (conductor)
Louisa Muller (director)
Dariusz Przybylski (composer)

Handel: Agrippina, d. Barrie Kosky (Bayerische Staatsoper / Royal Opera House)
Rimsky-Korsakov: The Tale of Tsar Saltan, d. Dmitri Tcherniakov (La Monnaie/De Munt)
Tchaikovsky: Pique Dame, d. Lydia Steier (Deutsche Oper am Rhein)
Tchaikovsky: The Enchantress, d. Andriy Zholdak (Opéra de Lyon)
Wagner: Tannhäuser, d. Tobias Kratzer (Bayreuth Festival)
Wolf-Ferrari/Tchaikovsky: ll segreto di Susanna Iolanta, d. John Wilkie / Olivia Fuchs (Opera Holland Park)

Finnish National Opera
La Monnaie/De Munt
Oper Frankfurt
Opéra Comique
Royal Opera House
Teatro Real

Bayerische Staatsoper
La Fenice
Le Concert d’Astrée
Oper Leipzig/Gewandhausorchester
Opera Vlaanderen
Teatro Real

Beethoven: Leonore (Harmonia Mundi)
Gounod: Faust (Palazzetto Bru Zane)
Moniuszko: Halka (Fryderyk Chopin Institute)
Picker: Fantastic Mr Fox (Boston Modern Orchestra Project)
Thomas: Hamlet (Naxos)
Weill: Street Scene (Bel Air Classiques)

Benjamin Bernheim: Benjamin Bernheim (Deutsche Grammophon)
Daniel Behle: Zero to Hero: Mozart (Sony)
Emöke Baráth: Voglio cantar (Erato)
Jakub Józef Orliński: Facce d’amore (Erato)
Julie Fuchs: Mademoiselle (Deutsche Grammophon)
Reinoud Van Mechelen: Dumesny: Haut-contre de Lully (Alpha)

Gomes: Lo schiavo (Teatro Lirico di Cagliari)
Heise: Drot og marsk (Royal Danish Opera)
Lully: Isis (Les Talens Lyriques)
Magnard: Guercoeur (Theater Osnabrück)
Moniuszko: Paria (Poznań Opera House)
Paer: Agnese (Teatro Regio di Torino)
Sacrati: La finta pazza (Opéra de Dijon)
Storace: Gli sposi malcontenti (Bampton Classical Opera)

García-Tomás: Je suis narcissiste (Teatro Real)
Glanert: Oceane (Deutsche Oper)
Kats-Chernin: Whiteley (Opera Australia)
MacRae: Anthropocene (Scottish Opera)
Nishimura: Asters (New National Theatre Tokyo)
Reid: p r i s m (Beth Morrison Projects)
Schreier: Schade, dass sie eine Hure war (Deutsche Oper am Rhein)
Venables: Denis & Katya (Opera Philadelphia)

Xabier Anduaga
Lena Belkina
Vasilisa Berzhanskaya
Lidia Fridman
Teresa Iervolino
Konu Kim
Roberta Mantegna
Zuzana Marková
Chrystal E Williams
Adela Zaharia

Ildar Abdrazakov
Cecilia Bartoli
Jamie Barton
Elīna Garanča
Jonas Kaufmann
Karita Mattila
Anna Netrebko
Erwin Schrott
Michael Spyres
Bryn Terfel

2020 JURY

David Agler
Michael Ajzenstadt
Shirley Apthorp
Xavier Cester
James Clutton
Cosma Mihai
Serge Dorny
Umberto Fanni
Irina Gerasimova
Jane Glover
Polly Graham
George Hall
Brenda Hurley
Deborah Jones
François Jongen
Robert Körner
Aleksander Laskowski
Joanna Lee
George Loomis
Max Loppert
Fiona Maddocks
Njabulo Madlala
Joan Matabosch
Erna Metdepenninghen
Christoph Meyer
Barbara Minghetti
Evans Mirageas
Annilese Miskimmon
Alexander Neef
Eleonora Pacetti
Nicholas Payne
Anna Picard
Christina Scheppelmann
Valery Serkin
Matthew Shilvock
Ken Smith
Victoria Stapells
Birgitta Svenden
James Taylor
Lyndon Terracini
Thomas Yaksic
Junko Yoshida
Francesca Zambello