The International Opera Awards has announced that the 2021 ceremony will take place on 10 May as an online event. Last year’s planned live Awards was forced off the stage by the coronavirus crisis, so this virtual event will see the long-awaited announcement of the 2020 winners. It will aim to pay tribute to the resilience of the opera industry during the past year.

Hosted by BBC Radio 3’s Petroc Trelawny, the virtual gala will feature exclusive performances from winners and other famous names. The evening will be streamed to ticketholders worldwide from 6.30pm GMT on Monday 10 May and available on demand afterwards for a month.

Tickets cost £10 and are available now. Proceeds from ticket sales will raise funds for the Opera Awards Foundation Artist Hardship Fund, established last year to provide emergency grants for young artists affected by the pandemic.

The winners of last year’s Awards are drawn from a shortlist of more than 100 finalists across 18 categories. The shortlist was compiled by a 45-strong international jury of opera critics, administrators and performers from 20 different countries, chaired by John Allison, editor of Opera magazine and classical music critic of The Daily Telegraph. See below for a full list of categories and nominees.

“I’m delighted that at last we can reveal our exciting winners and celebrate all the strong shortlisted talent,” Allison commented. “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 were founded by philanthropist Harry Hyman in 2012 to raise the profile of opera as an artform, to recognise and reward success in opera and to provide bursaries for aspiring operatic talent from around the world. Since its inception, more than £400,000 has been raised by the Opera Awards Foundation, going to more than 100 bursary recipients.

Hyman 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.”



Norwegian soprano Lise Davidsen is among the finalists for Female Singer (Ray Burmiston).


List of 2020 finalists

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

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

Female singer
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

Male singer
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)

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

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

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

Recording (complete opera)
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)

Recording (solo recital)
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)

Rediscovered work
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)

World premiere
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)

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

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