Following a cocktail reception and dinner, there will be a special ceremony co-hosted by star baritone Thomas Hampson and Margaret Juntwait, the announcer for the Metropolitan Opera's radio broadcasts. Special spoken and film tributes will be offered to the five guests of honor, as will a sung homage from tenor Ram‹n Vargas. Each honoree will receive an award from a distinguished presenter: Heppner from lyric tenor Matthew Polenzani, Levine from longtime colleague and iconic mezzo Marilyn Horne, Pape from the great retired soprano and pedagogue Martina Arroyo, Scotto from celebrated soprano and actress Patricia Racette, and Voigt from legendary Broadway and cabaret star Barbara Cook.
Launched in 2005, the Opera News Awards — the only awards in the United States given specifically for opera — are presented by the Metropolitan Opera Guild and Opera News magazine (published by the Guild) to recognize distinguished contributions to the art form.
The winners of the first Opera News Awards were mezzo-sopranos Susan Graham and Dolora Zajick, conductor James Conlon (currently music director of the Los Angeles Opera and previously chief conductor of the Op_ra national de Paris), retired soprano R_gine Crespin, and tenor/conductor/administrator/ operatic superman Plšcido Domingo.