Drag me to Hell - Lloyd Wood's Don Giovanni for ETO is voted the Best New Production of 2016
Drag me to Hell - Lloyd Wood's Don Giovanni for ETO is voted the Best New Production of 2016
© Richard Hubert Smith

Hats off to ETO. It's a jewel in the country's operatic crown for three reasons: the uncompromising enterprise of its programming, the high calibre of performing and creative talent it engages, and the sheer dogged extent of its nationwide travels. As a truly national opera company, English Touring Opera more than lives up to its billing.

Lloyd Wood's perceptive and probing account of Mozart's Don Giovanni, an opera whose modern production history tends to confirm its reputation as a ‘director's graveyard', is a worthy winner in the Best New Production category. And the young tenor Nick Pritchard, who shone like a beacon during the company's autumn tour of Baroque masterpieces, deservedly walks away with the title of Breakthrough Artist.

The win by Opera North for its restaging of Der Rosenkavalier in the venerable and much-travelled David McVicar production is hardly surprising in itself, but the margin of victory definitely is. It ran away with the Best Revival category. And the degree to which Britain has taken Sonya Yoncheva to its heart was underlined by her emphatic victory for Outstanding Achievement, with only Anthony Roth Costanzo and Jennifer France running her close.

Mark Wigglesworth's victory for his Outstanding Contribution to the UK Operatic Scene testifies to the high regard in which he is held both within and beyond the company he oversaw for too brief a spell.

Incidentally, the runners-up in the Best New Production category were also from English National Opera: a near-tie between Lulu and Akhnaten, with Berg's opera just shading second place. How heartening it is to see the professionalism of ENO's engine room keep this great company afloat.

Here are the full results. Warmest congratulations to the winners, the runners-up and all the shortlisted candidates.


Best New Opera Production

Winner: Don Giovanni (English Touring Opera/Lloyd Wood)

Runner-up: Lulu (English National Opera/William Kentridge)

Also shortlisted: Akhnaten (ENO/Phelim McDermott); Andrea Chénier (Opera North/Annabel Arden); Cavalleria rusticana/Pagliacci (The Royal Opera/Damiano Michieletto); Oedipe (The Royal Opera/Alex Ollé).


Best Opera Revival

Winner: Der Rosenkavalier (Opera North)

Runner-up: The Importance of Being Earnest (The Royal Opera)

Also shortlisted: A Midsummer Night's Dream (Glyndebourne); The Magic Flute (ENO); Jenůfa (ENO); The Cunning Little Vixen (Glyndebourne).


Outstanding Achievement in an Operatic Role

Winner: Sonya Yoncheva (Norma/The Royal Opera)

Runner-up: Anthony Roth Costanzo (Akhnaten/ENO)

Also shortlisted: Jennifer France (Die Fledermaus/Opera Holland Park); Kelly Cae Hogan (Der Ring des Nibelungen/Opera North); Rafael Rojas (Andrea Chénier/ Opera North); Sondra Radvanovsky (Manon Lescaut/Royal Opera).


Breakthrough Artist in UK Opera

Winner: Nick Pritchard (La Calisto Ulysses' Homecoming/English Touring Opera)

Runner-up: Brenda Rae (Lulu/English National Opera)

Also shortlisted: Björn Bürger (Il barbiere di Siviglia/Glyndebourne); Daniel Behle (Così fan tutte/The Royal Opera); Luca Salsi (La traviata/The Royal Opera); Taylor Stayton (Il barbiere di Siviglia/Glyndebourne).


Event of the Year/Outstanding Contribution to the UK Operatic Scene

Winner: Mark Wigglesworth for his inspired conducting of Don Giovanni, Jenůfa, Lulu and The Magic Flute for ENO

Runner-up: Opera North for its triumphant touring Ring cycle

Also shortlisted: Opera Holland Park for a bold season of dark and light opera; Richard Farnes for a magnificent 12-year tenure as music director of Opera North; Welsh National Opera for touring three new or unseen operas; The Devil Inside, a dynamic and theatrically powerful new chamber opera.