March 01, 2016

The 2016 International Opera Awards nominations have been revealed

Joyce DiDonato, Bryan Hymel, Antonio Pappano and Philippe Jaroussky all receive a nod on the shortlist.

The International Opera Awards have announced the 2016 nominations, selected by a jury chaired by John Allison, editor of Opera magazine and classical music critic for The Daily Telegraph.

Hot on the heels of her GRAMMY win for the Wigmore Hall recital album Joyce & Tony, Joyce DiDonato is among the top singers to vote for in the category of Opera Readers' Award.

Two very different Warner Classics and Erato albums are represented in the Best Complete Opera category. Handel's Partenope with Baroque orchestra Il Pomo d'Oro led by violinist-conductor Riccardo Minasi, has been hailed "one of the best Handel opera recordings to appear for some time" by Sinfini, which praised "Minasi and his superb cast lead by Karina Gauvin’s magnificent Partenope, the queen who has to chose between many suitors. They include Philippe Jaroussky’s seductively suave Arsace and the pure Armindo, sung by exceptionally sweet-voiced soprano Emőke Barath."

Also in the same category is Warner Classics' blockbuster recording of Aïda from Rome, with maestro Antonio Pappano's hand-picked cast featuring Anja Harteros, Jonas Kaufmann, Ekaterina Semenchuk and Erwin Schrott. With studio opera recordings of this scale now a rarity, the critics took notice: Aïda has already been crowned The Times classical album of the year, also winning the Classica Choc d'Année and the Diapason d'Or for Opera of the Year.

In the Best Opera Recital Album category, Warner Classics and Erato have another two superlative artists going head to head among the nominees. Diana Damrau's Fiamma del belcanto is the German coloratura soprano's first album devoted entirely to Italian opera, including an aria from one of her signature roles, Violetta. Opera News wrote: "The intelligent and musical soprano Diana Damrau captivates listeners with endlessly imaginative vocal colourings and her handling of text with seemingly natural ease...Damrau always goes beyond the obvious musical choices, and her readings bristle with lively thought and immediacy."

From Italian arias to French grand opéra: American heroic tenor Bryan Hymel is nominated in the same category for his debut album on Warner Classics, HéroïqueHis powerful high notes and musical sensitivity have led NPR to declare: "If Hymel had been born a generation earlier we might have had The Four Tenors. That's how good he is."

The winners will be announced in a London ceremony on 15 May. View the full shortlist here, and vote for the Opera Readers' Award here.