Press Room

Patricia Racette to host Opera News Awards gala on April 21, 2013

The celebrated American soprano Patricia Racette, one of the most acclaimed singing actresses on the opera stage today, will take on a different starring role on April 21, 2013 when she hosts the eighth annual Opera News Awards in the Grand Ballroom of The Plaza in New York City.  Racette, who won an Opera News Award herself in 2010, will be joined by a distinguished line-up of presenters, who will – along with a host of the city’s cultural, civic and social luminaries – pay tribute to five superb artists who have made an invaluable contribution to the art form.  The great American composer John Adams will present the award to soprano Dawn Upshaw; former New York City Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani to soprano Mirella Freni; acclaimed director Julie Taymor to bass-baritone Eric Owens; British conductor, harpsichordist and organist Harry Bicket to countertenor David Daniels; and fast-rising mezzo soprano Isabel Leonard to baritone Simon Keenlyside.  First introduced in 2005, the Opera News Awards gala dinner, which features the hosts and presenters speaking about the awardees and introducing video performance clips, has become one of the most anticipated opera events of the season: an evening of celebration, appreciation, reuniting and celebrity-spotting that is without parallel in the industry.
Currently at Washington National Opera preparing for her role debut as Puccini’s Manon Lescaut (March 2 – 23), Racette commented:
“While packing for Washington D.C., I just came across a photo of the legendary French soprano Régine Crespin, Opera News’s editor-in-chief, F. Paul Driscoll, and me at the very first Opera News Awards dinner.  It brought back many wonderful memories, and also reminded me that I will soon have experienced all levels of participation at this wonderful event: guest, presenter, recipient, and now host! What a thrill to experience this great celebration of our fantastic art form from every angle!  After all, it’s the closest thing we have to a SAG Award, right?!”
Speaking on behalf of Opera News, F. Paul Driscoll added:
“All of the editors of Opera News are thrilled that Patricia has accepted our invitation to host this year’s Opera News Awards.  Opera News has covered Patricia’s career since its very beginning; our readers have watched her progress from a talented beginner to one of the great singing actresses of our time. Patricia’s wit, her passion for the art form and her longtime association with the Opera News Awards make her an ideal choice to host this celebration.”
Hosting the Opera News Awards is but one highlight for Racette this spring. She returns to New York for performances at the famed nightclub and theater Studio 54 (March 26 – 30), where she will present a program titled Diva on Detour based on her recent solo album of the same name.  She first sang the program there last month at the launch of the album, which features Racette in her first solo stint as a cabaret singer. (She takes the program to Chicago on June 22 for a single night at the Ravinia Festival.)  She also returns to the Metropolitan Opera for the third time this season, where she sings the role of Madame Lidoine in Poulenc’s Dialogues des Carmélites (May 4, 9 and 11). She closes out her wide-ranging spring season at the New York Philharmonic in Dallapiccola’s Il Priogionero (June 6, 8, 11).
In an appreciation of Racette’s artistry, Opera News reported, “Racette exposes her characters to a harsh world that seems ready to crush them, but her ability to make herself vulnerable in performance seems to assert the vibrancy of their emotional life, and also hers. It’s a quality that makes her a treasurable artist today.”
The official announcement of this year’s honorees appeared in the September 2012 issue of Opera News. The April 2013 issue of Opera News will contain tributes to the five awardees.  Created in 2005, the Opera News Awards recognize five individuals each year for distinguished achievement in the field of opera. Proceeds from the gala evening on April 21 will benefit the education programs of the Metropolitan Opera Guild. The corporate sponsor for the event is BNY Mellon Wealth Management.
For the third consecutive season, the celebration of the Opera News Awards includes a special sweepstakes that will give a lucky winner round-trip air transportation for two to New York, provided by American Airlines, as well as a two-night stay at Trump International Hotel and Tower and VIP tickets to the Opera News Awards. This year’s winner is S. Jennifer Choi of Baltimore, Maryland, who is a national member of the Metropolitan Opera Guild. In total, there were 14,178 entrants into this year’s Opera News Awards sweepstakes. American Airlines and Trump International Hotel and Tower are the presenting sponsors for the Opera News Awards sweepstakes. 
Beyond offering the opportunity to pay tribute to the distinguished achievement of some of the leading artists of our time, the Opera News Awards gala dinner has become an important and much-anticipated date on the opera community’s calendar: a time for singers, artistic administrators, and managers – as well as social and political leaders who support opera – to come together in a spirit of camaraderie and celebration.
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 magazine, published monthly, is a winner of three ASCAP-Deems Taylor Awards for excellence in music journalism.
Previous Opera News Awards honorees:
2011: Dmitri Hvorostovsky, Peter Mattei, Karita Mattila, Anja Silja, Peter Sellars
2010: Jonas Kaufmann, Riccardo Muti, Patricia Racette, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Bryn Terfel 
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 
Eighth Annual Opera News Awards
Sunday, April 21 in the Grand Ballroom at The Plaza in New York City
A tribute to five superb artists who have made an invaluable contribution to the art form: sopranos Mirella Freni and Dawn Upshaw, countertenor David Daniels, baritone Simon Keenlyside, and bass-baritone Eric Owens.
Hosted by Patricia Racette
6:00 PM – Cocktail Reception with the Honorees, Hosts and Presenters 
7:00 PM – Dinner, followed by Spoken and Video Tributes and Award Presentations 
To reserve, call Metropolitan Opera Public Programs at 212-769-7009, or reserve online at
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© 21C Media Group, February 2013

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