International Opera Awards to stage virtual event for 2021 – what to expect and how to get tickets

Following last year’s cancellation due to the pandemic, the 2021 International Opera Awards will return in virtual form. We spoke to founder Harry Hyman about what to expect

It had been a fixture in the cultural calendar since 2012, but after last year’s cancellation the International Opera Awards have announced that they will take place virtually this year.

The 2021 edition of the awards will be staged on Monday 10 May, with an array of guest presenters and performances from stars of the opera world.

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Among the guests lined up for the online event are the Royal Opera House, Stuart Skelton and Ermonela Jaho, and from the winners of all this year’s solo vocal categories: Female Singer and Male Singer of the Year, Mazars Young Singer of the Year, Recording (Solo Recital) of the Year and the Opera Magazine Readers’ Award.

Talking to NationalWorld, awards founder and opera lover Harry Hyman explained the reason to go down the virtual route: “We were pretty devastated not to be able to have the physical event last April / May.

"There comes a time when it’s time to move on. And looking at the state of the world realistically, whereas in previous years people had jetted in to collect their awards, I think the chances of that happening in 2021 are quite slim.

"We hope to be back in a physical format next year, but we felt that we should get on with things.”

He added: “This is a great way to show the awards to a bigger audience than just those who could have gotten to a theatre in London.”

Vivica Genaux performs at International Opera Awards 2019 (Photo: Chris Christodoulou)

Hosted by BBC Radio 3’s Petroc Trelawny, the organisers hope that the awards will come as a welcome celebration after a year which hit the arts hard, but also as a chance to reflect, with a ‘Celebration of Resilience’ paying tribute to the innovation, perseverance and community spirit shown by the opera world during the pandemic.

Viewers will also be encouraged to donate to the Opera Awards Foundation’s Artist Hardship Fund, set up last year to provide emergency grants to young artists in financial need due to the Covid-19 crisis.

What are the International Opera Awards?

Founded in 2012 by philanthropist and opera fan Hyman, with an international jury chaired by Opera Magazine editor John Allison, the Awards have become a fixture of the international arts calendar, celebrating the opera world’s best and brightest every year in what is – in normal times – a gala red-carpet theatre show and ceremony.

In addition to the annual ceremony, the Awards also holds an annual fundraising gala and a series of masterclasses and recitals in aid of the Opera Awards Foundation, a registered charity offering annual bursaries and a performance platform to aspiring operatic talent around the world. Since 2012 the Foundation has given out over £400,000 to more than 100 singers, conductors, directors, composers, repetiteurs and other artists globally – many of whom can now be found working with the world’s greatest opera companies.

How to get tickets

Tickets for the 2021 International Opera Awards sponsored by Mazars are available for just £10 through Eventbrite.