Date announced for International Opera Awards 2021

2020 winners to be revealed in virtual event on Monday May 10
Exclusive performances from stars of the opera world
Event will raise funds for Artist Hardship Fund

The International Opera Awards has today announced the date of its 2021 Awards, taking place as an online event on Monday 10 May. After the planned 2020 live ceremony was forced off stage by the coronavirus pandemic, the virtual event will see the long-awaited announcement of the 2020 winners, as well as paying tribute to the resilience of the opera industry during the past year. The event will be streamed to ticketholders worldwide from 6.30pm GMT on Monday 10 May and available on demand afterwards for a month.

The evening will also raise funds for the Opera Awards Foundation Artist Hardship Fund, established last year to provide emergency grants for young artists affected by the pandemic.

Hosted by BBC Radio 3’s Petroc Trelawny, the virtual gala will feature exclusive performances from winners and other famous names, with more details to be announced in the coming weeks.

Two opera companies top the 2020 shortlist with recognition in three categories each; Deutsche Oper am Rhein (Education & Outreach, New Production, World Premiere) and Teatro Real (Opera Company, Opera Orchestra and World Premiere). A number of leading opera companies have two nominations each: Royal Danish Opera (Chorus, Rediscovered Work), La Fenice (Education & Outreach, Opera Orchestral), Royal Opera House (New Production, Opera Company), La Monnaie (New Production, Opera Company), Bayerische Staatsoper (New Production, Opera Orchestra), Opera Vlaanderen (Chorus, Opera Orchestra) and Deutsche Oper (Chorus, World Premiere).

In the highly prized singer categories: Female, Male, Young Singer and Opera Magazine Readers’ Award, the list of glittering finalists includes soprano Lise Davidsen who was shortlisted in the Young Singer category in 2017 and is now in the running for this year’s Female Singer award alongside Maria Agresta, Christine Goerke, Kate Lindsey, Lisette Oropesa and Elza van den Heever.

Conductor Finnegan Downie Dear, a former recipient of an Opera Awards Foundation bursary in 2015, is a finalist in the Newcomer category.

This is a particularly strong year for female composers in the World Premiere category with Raquel García-Tomás’ Je suis narcissiste (Teatro Real), Elena Kats-Chernin’s Whiteley (Opera Australia) and Ellen Reid’s Pulitzer prize-winning work, p r i s m (Beth Morrison Projects) all shortlisted for the award.

The shortlist was compiled by an impressive international jury of opera critics, administrators and performers from 20 different countries and chaired by John Allison, editor of Opera magazine (the Founding Media Partner of the Awards) and classical music critic of The Daily Telegraph. The winners of all categories, except the Readers’ Award, are also decided by the jury.

Harry Hyman, founder of the Awards, said:
After the unprecedented challenges of 2020, the opera world deserves a celebration more than ever. We are excited to be bringing the Awards back in virtual form and to welcome our most international audience yet. Although nothing can replace the thrill of live theatre, this will without doubt be a very special night as we pay tribute to the best and brightest of our industry.

John Allison, chair of the Jury, said:
I’m delighted that at last we can reveal our exciting winners and celebrate all the strong shortlisted talent. After an incredibly tough year of disruption, this is a moment for the operatic world to come together, and we’re happy that the online format allows people to join in from around the world.

The Awards, founded by philanthropist Harry Hyman in 2012, aim to raise the profile of opera as an art form, to recognise and reward success in opera and to generate funds to provide bursaries for aspiring operatic talent from around the world. Since 2012 over £400,000 has been raised by the Opera Awards Foundation, going to more than 100 bursary recipients.

In 2020, the Foundation established an Artist Hardship Fund, providing emergency grants to previous bursary recipients facing financial hardship due to the pandemic. In 2021 the Fund aims to re-open grant applications more broadly to other young and emerging artists affected by the crisis.

Booking for the virtual Gala Event on 10 May is now open, with tickets priced from just £10. For more information, visit: