Ermonela Jaho has capped off a wonderful start to 2016 by winning the Readers Award at the 2016 International Opera Awards. The Albanian soprano (pictured), who won praise earlier this year for her performance in Puccini's Suor Angelica at the Royal Opera House, collected her award at a glitzy ceremony at the Savoy Theatre in London that was attended by many of opera's big names. ‘To reach the souls of the public makes me feel over the moon,’ she said.
Also in attendance was Brigitte Fassbaender, who was honoured with a lifetime achievement award. The mezzo-soprano, 76, retired from performing in 1995 and has since had a successful second career as an opera director and teacher. ‘This is an enormous surprise’ she told the audience, stressing the importance of continuing what she called one of the highest forms of art. ‘Everybody should be aware of the fact that without opera, life would be boring.’
Other award winners included Gianandrea Noseda, winner of the conductor award, and Mariella Devia and Gregory Kunde, winners of the female and male singer awards.
Despite narrowly avoiding strike action earlier this year, 2016 has been a successful award season for the ENO chorus, who won the chorus award. They were recently won an Olivier award for outstanding achievement in opera, and were shortlisted for a Royal Philharmonic Award.
Young members of the opera industry were also recognised in several awards. The young conductor and young director awards both went to Italians – Giacomo Sagripanti and Fabio Ceresa – while singers Asmik Gigorian and Stanislas de Barbeyrac won the young singer awards.
The awards were presented by BBC Radio 3’s Petroc Trelawney.
Accessibility The Opera Platform
CD Complete Opera Les Martyrs (Opera Rara)
CD Operatic Recital Ann Hallenberg: Agrippina (DHM)
Chorus English National Opera
Conductor Gianandrea Noseda
Designer Vicki Mortimer
Director Laurent Pelly
DVD The Tsar's Bride (Bel Air)
Female Singer Mariella Devia
Lifetime Achievement Brigitte Fassbaender
Male Singer Gregory Kunde
New Production Peter Grimes (Theater an der Wien)
Opera Company Dutch National Opera
Philanthropists Bill & Judy Bollinger & Christine Collins
Rediscovered Work Le Roi Carotte (Opéra de Lyon)
World Premiere Cold Mountain (Santa Fe Opera)
Young Conductor Giacomo Sagripanti
Young Director Fabio Ceresa
Young Female Singer Asmik Grigorian
Young Male Singer Stanislas de Barbeyrac
Readers’ Award winner Ermonela Jaho