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LuPone & Blythe co-host sixth annual Opera News Awards

Broadway icon Patti LuPone and acclaimed mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe will co-host the sixth annual Opera News Awards, which will take place on April 17 at The Plaza in New York City.  The two stars will headline a gala awards dinner celebrating the achievement of five extraordinary artists who have made an invaluable contribution to the art form: tenor Jonas Kaufmann, conductor Riccardo Muti, soprano Patricia Racette, soprano Kiri Te Kanawa, and bass-baritone Bryn Terfel. The event will feature celebrity presenters speaking about the awardees and performance videos for each honoree. Tributes to the five awardees will also figure prominently in the April 2011 issue of Opera News, which celebrates its 75th anniversary this season.
The co-hosting duties are a reunion of sorts for Miss LuPone and Miss Blythe, who appeared together on the cover of the August 2002 issue of Opera News.  That cover story was called “The Crossover Variations,” in which several musical theatre stars were asked to cast themselves in an opera.  In the cover photo, Miss LuPone was costumed for an opera role, Jenny in Weill’s Mahagonny, while Miss Blythe was dressed as Mrs. Lovett in Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd.   
Miss LuPone was a presenter at the first annual Opera News Awards in 2005, handing the honor to conductor James Conlon, a contemporary of hers while both were studying at the Juilliard School. She first appeared in Opera News in 1999 as part of the magazine’s “Going to the Opera With” series, and later in a 2003 feature about her Ravinia Festival performances in Sondheim’s Passion.  She also appeared on the cover of the magazine in 2007 with Audra McDonald, her co-star in the Los Angeles Opera’s production of Kurt Weill’s Mahagonny.
Stephanie Blythe, who returns to New York’s Metropolitan Opera in April to continue her headlining role in the company’s new production of Wagner’s Ring cycle, is no stranger to Opera News.  While receiving her own Opera News Award in 2008, Miss Blythe spoke fondly in her acceptance speech about reading the magazine in her early days as a voice student at the Crane School of Music.  Her first Opera News cover story was in June 2001.  In 2003-04, Opera News produced a television special, “Vignettes: An Evening with Stephanie Blythe and Warren Jones,” which was taped at El Teatro Heckscher at Museo del Barrio and broadcast on WNYE.  The program is now in the permanent collection of the Paley Center for Media.  Miss Blythe appeared on the cover of Opera News again in April 2007.
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.  The monthly magazine is a winner of three ASCAP-Deems Taylor Awards for excellence in music journalism.
BNY Mellon Wealth Management is the corporate sponsor for this year’s Opera News Awards.  Presenting sponsors for the Opera News Awards sweepstakes include American Airlines and the St. Regis Hotel in New York, with EMI as a contributing sponsor.
Bio briefs
Patti LuPone is one of the most celebrated performers on the Broadway stage today. Author of the New York Times best-selling autobiography Patti LuPone: A Memoir, she most recently starred on Broadway in the musical Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown. Miss LuPone swept the 2008 theatre awards winning the Tony, the Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards for Best Actress in a Musical and the Drama League Award for Distinguished Performance for her performance as Rose in the critically-acclaimed Broadway production of the classic Jule Styne-Stephen Sondheim-Arthur Laurents musical Gypsy, directed by the show’s author, Mr. Laurents.  Miss LuPone’s complete bio is available here
Stephanie Blythe is one of the most acclaimed singers of her generation, lauded for her commanding style, sumptuous tone, and authoritative performances of both traditional mezzo roles and individual repertoire choices, from Rossini and Bizet to Handel and contemporary composers.  Among the many highlights of her current season are her portrayals of the role of Fricka in the Metropolitan Opera’s new productions of Wagner’s Das Rheingold and Die Walküre; her debut at the Lyric Opera of Chicago in Verdi’s Un Ballo in Maschera and Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado; and concerts at Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw and with the Collegiate Chorale in Carnegie Hall.  Miss Blythe’s complete bio is available here
Sunday, April 17 at The Plaza in New York City
Tickets are available through the Metropolitan Opera Guild at (212) 769-7009 or online here
2010 Opera News Awards honorees
Jonas Kaufmann, tenor
Riccardo Muti, conductor
Patricia Racette, soprano
Kiri Te Kanawa, soprano
Bryn Terfel, bass-baritone
Previous Opera News Awards honorees:
2009:  Martina Arroyo, Joyce DiDonato, Gerald Finley, Philip Glass, Shirley Verrett
2008:  John Adams, Natalie Dessay, Renée Fleming, Marilyn Horne, Sherrill Milnes  
2007:  Olga Borodina, Stephanie Blythe, Thomas Hampson, Leontyne Price, Julius Rudel
2006:  Ben Heppner, James Levine, René Pape, Renata Scotto, Deborah Voigt
2005:  James Conlon, Régine Crespin, Plácido Domingo, Susan Graham, Dolora Zajick

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