New York City Opera Presents 2006-07 Awards for Excellence

Classic Arts News   New York City Opera Presents 2006-07 Awards for Excellence
New York City Opera has named ten singers from its current roster as winners of its 2006-07 awards for artistic excellence. The laureates were honored today at a luncheon at the Carlyle Hotel in Manhattan.

The Christopher Keene Award, created in 1998 to commemorate the late City Opera general director's commitment to artistic innovation and presented each year to an artist performing in new or unusual repertory, went to mezzo-soprano Vivica Genaux, who made her City Opera debut as Juno/Ino in Handel's Semele.

The Diva Award, to an outstanding female City Opera artist who has reached an important stage in her professional career, was presented to soprano Elizabeth Caballero, who sang Musetta in Puccini's La Bohme in fall 2006.

The Kolozsvar Awards, honoring one artist from the fall season and one from the spring who have performed in new or unusual repertory, went to two singers for their work in Handel: tenor Robert Breault, who sang Jupiter in Semele, and countertenor Gerald Thompson, currently portraying Guido in Flavio for his City Opera debut. (The name "Kolozsvar," derived from Hungarian folklore, refers to a magical place, a Shangri-la or Utopia.)

The General Director's Council Award, established by the members of City Opera's advisory council to recognize artistic achievement by a conductor, director or designer of a new production, was given to director Stephen Lawless for Semele.

The Richard F. Gold Career Grant, administered by the Shoshana Foundation and honoring a young American opera singer who appears destined for a major career, went to mezzo-soprano Laura Vlasak Nolen, who sang Malcolm in Rossini's La donna del lago this spring.

The Richard F. Gold Debut Award, presented annually to an artist making a City Opera debut, was given to soprano Juliana Di Giacomo, who made her debut this fall replacing an indisposed colleague as Fiordiligi in Mozart's CosÐ fan tutte.

The Stanley Tausend Award, given each year to a young artist the season following his or her company debut, went to soprano Shu-Ying Li, who first appeared with City Opera in the title role of Puccini's Madama Butterfly on the company's May 2005 tour to Japan and made her house debut in the same role the following fall. (She sang MimÐ in Puccini's La Bohme at the beginning of this season.)

The Dr. Marcia Robbins-Wilf Award, established last year as a sort of Best Actor/Actress prize, celebrating an outstanding dramatic performance, was presented to soprano Elizabeth Futral for her portrayal of the title role in Semele.

The Betty Allen Prize, created to recognize exceptional singers for their artistic excellence and ongoing commitment to City Opera, went to tenor James Valenti, who made his City Opera debut last fall as Rodolfo in Puccini's La Bohme.

Recommended Reading: