Lise Davidsen, Erin Morley & George Shirley Announced as OPERA NEWS Awards

By Francisco Salazar

OPERA NEWS has announced the recipients of the eighteenth annual OPERA NEWS Awards.

The magazine said that this year’s honorees are soprano Lise Davidsen, soprano Erin Morley, and tenor and educator George Shirley. They will be honored at a black-tie gala on Sunday, April 16, 2023 at the Plaza in New York City with musical tributes by Stephanie Blythe and Latonia Moore.

The gala will also feature appearances by Lawrence Brownlee, Joshua Hopkins and Ana María Martínez.

In a statement, F. Paul Driscoll said, “The editors of OPERA NEWS and the staff and board of directors of the Metropolitan Opera Guild look forward eagerly to the eighteenth annual OPERA NEWS Awards on April 16. We are proud to honor a trio of distinguished artists—Lise Davidsen, Erin Morley, and George Shirley—who represent the highest level of achievement in opera.”

Regarding Davidsen,  OPERA NEWS Deputy Editor Henry Stewart said, “Still relatively early in what promises to be a stupendous career, Lise Davidsen emerged almost fully formed as a once-in-a-generation talent. Her soprano is gargantuan; when she sings at the Met, you think they must hear her in Central Park. But her artistry goes beyond sheer power: the voice is suffused with nuance and sensitivity, bringing her dramatic-rep roles vividly to life.”

Meanwhile Senior Editor Louise T. Guinther praised Morley stating, “Soprano Erin Morley dazzles audiences in every corner of the coloratura repertoire with the crystalline clarity and stratospheric acrobatics of her singing, the pristine accuracy and stylistic acuity of her musicianship and a dramatic range that encompasses everything from the vulnerable ingenue Sophie to the mechanical doll Olympia to the implacable Queen of the Night.”

Finally Shirley was praised by Chief F. Paul Driscoll, “George Shirley’s incomparable artistry remains a touchstone for all lovers of good singing. Whether he was singing Handel, Haydn or Mozart, Rossini, Debussy or Stravinsky, Shirley’s singing was remarkable for its honesty, strength and extraordinary beauty. At a time when artists of his race were denied opportunities, Shirley was an inspiration to all artists: he was and is a man of honor and courage, a singer and teacher whose work enriched his world.”