The late British conductor Richard Hickox has won a posthumous award for his conducting of Britten’s Billy Budd with Opera Australia last year. The Sydney company’s former music director, who died of a heart attack last winter, has been awarded the Helpmann Award for best musical direction, one of the highest artistic accolades to be given in Australia.
Hickox beat nominees from the fields of musical theatre and ballet to become the only person to have won this award twice. Hickox previously won for his 2002 production of Shostakovich’s Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk.
At a ceremony in the Sydney Opera House, Opera Australia’s Billy Budd was also given awards for best direction and best opera, and baritone John Wegner was named best male performer for his portrayal of Claggart in the same production. When he collected his award, Wegner dedicated it to the memory of Hickox.