Described as opera’s Oscars, the International Opera Awards (IOA) will this year take place at Madrid’s Teatro Real. It marks the first in-person ceremony for the awards ceremony since 2019. It is also the first time in IOA’s history that it will be held outside the UK.

The packed programme features works from some of the most loved operas of all time as the opera world comes together to celebrate the best of the artform’s past season. The ceremony will be directed by previous Opera Awards Foundation bursary recipient and opera director Ella Marchment.

Highlights from the ceremony will include American soprano Nadine Sierra joining Spanish tenor and International Opera Award 2021 Young Singer Xabier Anduaga to perform a duet from Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor (1835), a tragic opera concerning the emotionally fragile Lucy Ashton (Lucia) who is caught in a feud between her own family and that of the Ravenswoods

British soprano Nardus Williams will sing ‘E Susanna non vien…Dove sono…’ (‘And Susanna doesn’t come…Where are…’) from Mozart’s supreme masterpiece of operatic comedy Le Nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro, 1786). She is currently on tour across the UK in Glyndebourne’s production of that same opera.

Uzbek soprano and 2017 BBC Cardiff Singer of the World finalist Barno Ismatullaeva will perform ‘Un bel dì, vedremo’ (‘One fine day we’ll see’), the most famous aria from Puccini’s hugely popular Madama Butterfly (1904), while Australian soprano Jessica Pratt will join Italian tenor Francesco Demuro in a duet from Bellini’s I puritani (The Puritans, 1835), the composer’s last opera before his death at just 33 in 1835.

The programme also reflects this year’s Spanish setting, with popular songs from zarzuelas – a Spanish lyric-dramatic genre that alternates between spoken and sung scenes – performed by Peruvian tenor Iván Ayón Rivas and Spanish soprano Serena Saenz.

These star soloists will be joined by the Orchestra and Chorus of Teatro Real, who will also perform orchestral highlights from Verdi’s Macbeth (1865), based on the Shakespeare play, Amadeo Vives’s Doña Francisquita, a comic story of multiple love triangles, and Manuel de Falla’s La vida breve (Life is Short, 1913), in which a young Gypsy woman falls for the wrong man. The orchestra will be conducted by music director José Miguel Pérez Sierra.

In addition to performing at the ceremony, Barno Ismatullaeva, Iván Ayón Rivas and Nardus Williams are also shortlisted for the Rising Talent award.

Harry Hyman, founder of the International Opera Awards, commented: “I’m delighted to announce such a star-studded and international list of performers for the International Opera Awards 2022, our first in-person live event since 2019.

“With an incredible programme of music set in the glorious venue of the Teatro Real, it’s going to be a night to remember. I’m greatly looking forward to welcoming the performers and nominees to Madrid and to celebrate their successes with them.”

In addition to the performances, the winners of the International Opera Awards 2022 will be also revealed during the awards ceremony, hosted by BBC Radio 3’s Petroc Trelawny.

The evening takes place from 7.30pm on 28 November. The full programme can be found on Teatro Real’s website; tickets for the ceremony are on sale now.

The International Opera Awards were founded in 2012, with the aims of raising the profile of opera as an artform, recognising and rewarding success in opera and to generate funds to provide bursaries for aspiring operatic talent from around the world. This year’s event will raise funds for the Opera Awards Foundation, supporting aspiring young operatic talent.



Clockwise from top left: tenor Francesco Demuro (Elena Cherkashyna), soprano Jessica Pratt (Benjamin Ealovega), soprano Nadine Sierra (Merri Cyr), soprano Nardus Williams (Bertie Watson), soprano Serea Saenz (Natalia Cornudella) and tenor Xabier Anduaga (Gemma Escribano) are all set to perform at this year’s International Opera Awards ceremony in Spain.