~ Sold-out evening featured surprise appearance by Renée Fleming; presentations by Elīna Garanča, Kiri Te Kanawa and Joseph Volpe ~
More than 400 opera aficionados and performers – including opera stars Harolyn Blackwell, Lauren Flanigan, Ailyn Pérez, Diana Soviero, Teresa Stratas and surprise presenter Renée Fleming, were among those who attended the 12th Annual OPERA NEWS Awards at The Plaza Hotel last night.
This year’s honorees — stage director Robert Carsen, soprano Christine Goerke, conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin, tenor Matthew Polenzani and mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade — were feted at the gala affair with a captivating performance by Tony Award winner Kelli O’Hara.
Along with Ms. Fleming, Elīna Garanča, Kiri Te Kanawa and Joseph Volpe joined Metropolitan Opera Guild President Richard J. Miller and OPERA NEWS Editor-in-Chief F. Paul Driscoll in presenting the awards for distinguished achievement in the field of opera and outstanding contributions to the opera world.
“The editors of OPERA NEWS were very pleased to honor these opera luminaries,” said Driscoll. “The evening had many magical moments, especially when surprise guest Renée Fleming presented an award to Robert Carsen, who is directing the legendary soprano in Der Rosenkavalier opening this week.”
Elīna Garanča accepted the OPERA NEWS Award on behalf of Yannick Nézet-Séguin, who was unable to attend due to illness. He released this statement: “To be acknowledged by OPERA NEWS in such remarkable company is an incredible honor for me. It breaks my heart not to be with you tonight, as I was looking forward so much to celebrating with you all. As you know my life as a New Yorker is only just beginning; therefore, I hope to see you in the next few weeks at the Met or around town in the future.”
The prestigious audience at the black-tie dinner counted Anastasia Angelova, Andrea Anson, Daniel Applebaum, Ludmila and J. Truman Bidwell; Susan S. Braddock, Beatrice and Douglas Broadwater; Peter Brown, Thomas Bunn, Emmanuel Ceysson, Mrs. Schuyler G. Chapin, Marc Chazaud, Judith-Ann Corrente, Richard Gaddes, Giovanni Favretti, Edmeé de M. Firth, Carole and John French, III; John Hargraves, Nancy L. Hayward, Ellen F. Marcus, Louis Miano, Nancy Newcomb, Langdon Van Norden, Jr., Constantine Orbelian, Donald Palumbo, John and Emily Rafferty; Ron Raines, James D. Rigler, Mary and Winthrop Rutherfurd; Elizabeth Stribling, Joan and Barry Tucker; Midge Woolsey, Basilia Yao and Ann Ziff among the many notable attendees.
Also in attendance were rising stars of the Lindemann Young Artist Development Program, including Michelle Bradley, Rihab Chaieb, Ian Koziara, David Leigh, Clarissa Lyons, Giuseppe Mentuccia, Petr Nekoranec, Valeriya Polunina, Sava Vemić and Yunpeng Wang.
The OPERA NEWS Awards showcased packages auctioned off by Robbie Gordy, Associate Vice President and Auctioneer at Christie’s New York. These one-of-a-kind offerings included a private cabaret recital by Stephanie Blythe in your home; a Dario Acosta photo shoot and personalized OPERA NEWS cover; a seven-day retreat in Ireland; a private string quartet concert by members of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra; and a gourmet meal for six prepared by countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo. Guests also bid on silent auction [packages including a private voice lesson at your Manhattan home with celebrated lyric coloratura soprano Harolyn Blackwell; a private backstage tour of The Metropolitan Opera House and tickets to the Metropolitan Opera, the Washington National Opera, and the shows HELLO, DOLLY! and WAR PAINT. The auction and gala evening raised over $600,000, with the proceeds going towards the education initiatives of the Metropolitan Opera Guild.
The 12th Annual OPERA NEWS Awards were sponsored by the Lloyd E. Rigler – Lawrence E. Deutsch Foundation.
ABOUT OPERA NEWS
OPERA NEWS has been published by The Metropolitan Opera Guild since 1936; it has the largest circulation of any classical music magazine in the United States and is the only North American publication that covers opera internationally. Editor in Chief F. Paul Driscoll helms the monthly, which is a winner of five ASCAP-Deems Taylor Awards for excellence in music journalism. For more information and the latest opera news visit OperaNews.com, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.