2014 Helpmann Award Nominees Announced

downloadJudging by the nominations for the 2014 Helpmann Awards, the art of opera in Australia is alive and well with Opera Australia, Hobart Baroque and Victorian Opera in the running for at least three awards each. Since their inauguration in 2001, the Helpmann Awards have recognised distinguished artistic achievement and excellence in Australia’s live performance scene. 

Opera Australia’s The Ring Cycle received ten nominations, including Best Opera, Best Scenic Design (Robert Cousins), Best Opera Direction (Neil Armfield) and Best Music Direction (Pietari Inkinen); Jacqueline Dark, Miriam Gordon-Stewart, Warwick Fyfe, Daniel Sumegi, Stefan Vinke and Terje Stensvold were also among the nominated performers.

 Opera Australia was also nominated for The Turk in Italy (Simon Phillips for Best Direction of an Opera and Emma Matthews for Best Female Performer in an Opera), La Forza del Destino and Madama Butterfly (Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour).

Only two years since its inception, Hobart Baroque garnered three nominations – Best Direction of an Opera (Chas Rader-Shieber for Orlando), Best Female Performer in an Opera (Kathryn Lewek in Orlando), and Best Individual Classical Music Performance (Julia Lezhneva with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, presented by Hobart Baroque). 

Victorian Opera’s Nixon in China is in the running for six awards. 

The Sydney Symphony Orchestra is also in contention with four nominations  – two for its presentations with Murray Perahia for Best Chamber and/or Instrumental Ensemble Concert and Best Individual Classical Performance in association with the Melbourne Recital Centre, and one each for The War Requiem (Best Symphony Orchestra Concert, conducted by Vladimir Ashkenazy) and Christine Goerke in Elektra (Best Female Performer in an Opera, conducted by David Robertson).

The Australian Chamber Orchestra straddles genres with two nominations on the classical category – Andreas Scholl for Best Individual Classical Performance with Andreas Scholl Sings Vivaldi and The Christmas Oratorio for Best Symphony Orchestra Concert and one nomination in the Contemporary Music category for their concerts featuring The Presets.

This year’s ceremony will take place at Sydney’s Capitol Theatre on Monday 18th August against the set of Disney’s The Lion King. Jonathan Biggins will host the evening which will be broadcast on Foxtel’s Arena channel.

The Helpmann Awards also incorporate the Brian Stacey Award for Emerging Australian Conductors which was awarded to Russell Ger this year. The prize includes a purse of $8000.  A graduate of the Symphony Services Australia Conductor Development Program, Russell Ger is an orchestral, operatic and choral conductor based in New York. He is studying at the Boston Conservatory on scholarship.

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