Ermonela Jaho enjoys Opera Awards accolade

Albanian soprano is celebrated at 2016 ceremony in London

Ermonela Jaho

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.

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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.

The Winners

Accessibility The Opera Platform

CD Complete Opera
 Les Martyrs (Opera Rara)

CD Operatic Recital
 Ann Hallenberg: Agrippina (DHM)

English National Opera

Conductor Gianandrea Noseda

 Vicki Mortimer

 Laurent Pelly

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

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Readers’ Award winner Ermonela Jaho