Opera is one of the most dramatic and debated of all the performing arts, often creating immense controversy. So it is surprising that, unlike film, drama, literature, music and ballet, there has (until now) been very few international awards dedicated solely to opera.
All of this changed on Monday April 22. At a glittering ceremony at London’s Hilton Hotel, Park Lane, and with approximately 700 people filling the red carpet, prizes were handed out to the winners of 21 operatic categories – from singers to directors to conductors, set and costume designers, newcomers and philanthropists.
The Mother City’s very own Cape Town Opera walked away with one of the most prestigious awards on the evening
1500 nominations were received from 41 different countries. A shortlist was compiled by a distinguished international jury, headed by John Allison, Editor of Opera Magazine, known in the industry as “the bible of the opera world.” Allison, who presented the award to Cape Town Opera’s Managing Director Michael Williams, announced “and the award for Best Opera Chorus award goes to Cape Town Opera, for its energy and exciting commitment, which never fails to communicate itself to an audience and shows again why a chorus can be the backbone of any company”.
Williams, who accepted the award on behalf of Cape Town Opera, said, “this was a climax to all the hard work of the company, particularly the chorus, last year.
Albert Horne, you are to be congratulated on your leadership and musical ability. And to all the members of the chorus in ‘Porgy & Bess’, ‘Mandela Trilogy’, the Sheldonian Chorus Concert, ‘Porgy & Bess’ Concert in Berlin with the Berlin Philharmonic, and the concert tour to Melbourne, Australia – well done. This award belongs to you.”
Other prize-winners includeed Frankfurt Opera (Opera Company of the Year), The Metropolitan Opera Company (Orchestra of the Year), Jonas Kauffmann (Best Male Singer) and Nina Stemme (Best Female Singer). “We are truly honoured and extremely happy”, said Chorus Master Albert Horne. “It is amazing to be recognised on an International level, with such esteemed prize-winners. I am truly the proudest Chorus Master in the World right now.”
The Cape Town Opera chorus has become world renowned and have received rave reviews from critics the world over.
“The open-throated chorus of Cape Town Opera contains an ensemble that is called, quite justifiably, the Voice of the Nation, and when its members let rip to intone one of Verdi’s thunderous political protests or to bounce through some riotous Gershwanian jazz, you seem to hear an entire people expressing primal emotions of defiant pride and exuberant joy,” read a Peter Conrad in the The Monthly.
* Upcoming productions by Cape Town Opera will be ‘Two:30’ in June and Mozart’s ‘Don Giovanni’ in August. Visit www.capetownopera.co.za for more information.