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Opera News Awards presenters for 2009

The 2009 Opera News Awards will take place at Gotham Hall in New York City on Thursday, November 19, and a starry list of presenters, announced today by Opera News, will join the event’s co-hosts, Thomas Hampson and Susan Graham, and an audience of opera and social luminaries, in paying tribute to the honorees.

Deborah Voigt will present the award to Martina Arroyo.  Voigt made her 1991 Met debut as Amelia in Un Ballo in Maschera, one of the Verdi roles that Arroyo sang frequently at the Met.  These two American sopranos have had other roles in common too, including Aida, Gioconda, Leonora in La Forza del Destino, and Elsa in Lohengrin.  Voigt, who recently opened the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s new season singing Tosca, and who will perform two roles this year at the Metropolitan Opera, was an Opera News Award-winner in 2006.

Stephanie Blythe will present the award to Joyce DiDonato.  Like DiDonato, Blythe is an American mezzo-soprano whose career has spanned both traditional mezzo roles and more individual repertoire choices, from Rossini and Bizet to Handel and contemporary composers.  Stephanie Blythe received an Opera News Award in 2007.

Danielle de Niese will present the award to Gerald Finley.  De Niese was Papagena to Gerald Finley’s Papageno in the Met’s Die Zauberflöte in 2000.  She is currently singing Susanna at the Met in Le Nozze di Figaro.

The composer, lyricist, and singer Paul Simon will present the award to Philip Glass.  When Glass was looking for collaborators for his groundbreaking and genre-crossing 1986 work Liquid Days, one of those to whom he turned was Paul Simon.  An iconic figure in popular music, Paul Simon has himself been the recipient of many awards, including twelve Grammy Awards and the Kennedy Center Honor. 

The multi-talented Audra McDonald will present the award to Shirley Verrett.  New York theatergoers first discovered McDonald when she played Carrie in the Lincoln Center Theater production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel.  Playing Nettie in the same production was opera star Shirley Verrett, who became McDonald’s mentor.  One of America’s great singing actresses, Audra McDonald has won four Tony Awards, and now stars in the television show Private Practice.

The Opera News Awards were created in 2005 to mark the 70th anniversary of the Metropolitan Opera Guild, which publishes Opera News.  The awards recognize five individuals annually for distinguished achievement in the field of opera.  Proceeds from the gala evening on November 19 will benefit the education programs of the Metropolitan Opera Guild.

This year, Wells Fargo Private Bank is the Corporate Sponsor of the event. 

Opera News has been published by the Metropolitan Opera Guild since 1936 and has the largest circulation of any classical music magazine in the United States.  The magazine, published monthly, is a winner of three ASCAP-Deems Taylor Awards for excellence in music journalism.


The 2009 Opera News Awards

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Gotham Hall, 1356 Broadway at 36th Street

Honorees: Martina Arroyo, Joyce DiDonato, Gerald Finley, Philip Glass, & Shirley Verrett

Co-hosts: Susan Graham and Thomas Hampson

6pm – Cocktail reception with the honorees

7pm – Dinner, followed by spoken and video tributes and award presentations

For tickets and further information, contact the Metropolitan Opera Guild at (212) 769-7009.


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© 21C Media Group, October 2009

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