European Opera-Directing Prize Announces 2023 Winner

By Francisco Salazar

The 13th European Opera-directing Prize was awarded by Camerata Nuova Wiesbaden in Birmingham.

The competition, which is organized every two years by the Wiesbaden-based association Camerata Nuova in cooperation with Opera Europa, is the only competition for young opera directors in the German-speaking world.

The 2023 prize was awarded to 31-year-old Italian stage director Lorenzo Ponte and his team consisting of Alice Benazzi, set designer, and Giulia Rossena, costume designer for a production of their concept for the opera “Two Widows” by Bedřich Smetana.

The winning concept will be performed at the Smetana’s Litomyšl Festival and the Birmingham Opera Company will take on this task and will receive €25,000 towards the production costs.

The production will also be performed by Lviv National Opera in Ukraine and the International May Festival in Wiesbaden will invite the production in 2025.

According to Barbara Minghetti, artistic director of the Teatro Sociale di Como and chair of the jury, “The jury’s decision to award the first prize to 31-year-old Lorenzo Ponte was unanimous. He convinced the jury with his way of working with the singers and amateur actors and his humorous and at the same time topical reading of the opera ‘Two Widows.”’

The jury also awarded a special prize to Verena Silcher from Stuttgart, who will receive a grant of €10,000.

This year the competition saw four finalists and a jury that consisted of Barbara Minghetti (Jury Chair) – Artistic Director of Teatro Sociale di Como and Artistic Director of the Festival in Parma, Karen Stone – Director of Opera EuropaRichard Willacy – Director of Birmingham Opera Company, Aleš Březina – Artistic Director of the Smetana Litomyšl Festival, Vasely Vovkun – Artistic Director of Lviv National Opera, and Here with Armin Kretschmar, president of Camerata Nuova.