I’ve always had a dalliance with opera, it’s my guilty pleasure, a little bit like Bon Jovi or Radio4 on a Sunday when I’m mooching around the house eating my own weight in jaffa cakes. I adore the amount of effort that goes into every aspect of opera, the sets, costumes, those first tentative moments when the orchestra is warming up, and of course, I ardently admire the commitment of the singers. Opera has never been an easy career to break into, nor does it carry the fame and glamour as other styles of professional music do today, and never has there been an international awards ceremony which commends these participants, until London breaks out the horned helmets in April to host The International Opera Awards, a ceremony to honour all things operatic.
Now, I was really surprised to hear about these awards, I like opera, but have never really perceived it like I do with more mainstream music; I mean we have the Brit Awards every year, The Grammy’s and a host of other award ceremonies celebrating popular music, so why shouldn’t opera have one? Is it the wigs, and the copious amount of white face powder? Is it that bloke off the Go Compare adverts who could drive anyone to commmit bloody murder? (I wouldn’t blame you)
Not really, it’s just that opera has in recent times seemed like a favourite childhood toy. Worn, maybe the legs are a bit frayed and he’s missing an eye, but there is a richness to his history, a history which set the foundations for professional singers across Europe from its conception to its peak in the 1800’s. But as with time, tastes change, and so new genres of music with their bells and whistles have enticed us with something new, and we all forget about Opera-Ted in the corner, collecting dust and humming ‘Nessun Dorma‘ to himself. Opera has had a pretty tough time of late, amidst a decline in audiences and harsh budget cuts, including the Peter Moore Foundation who funds the Royal Opera Covent Garden, Welsh National Opera and the Scottish Opera closing its doors and its funds too, but John Allison, editor of Opera Magazine and one half of the brains behind the award ceremony, hopes that “these awards will raise opera in everyone’s conscience“.
The International Opera Awards recognises the achievements of all the performers, producers and teams that work in opera. Thus far there have been 1500 nominations from 41 countries, short-listed to just over a hundred nominees in 23 different categories, including Best Female/Male Singer, Best Opera Company and Best Conductor. They will be judged by an independent panel of 10 industry experts, and presented at a glittering black tie ceremony at the Hilton Park Lane on the 22 April 2013.