The Metropolitan Opera has announced that due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it will be splitting the 2021 Beverly Sills Artist Award between five artists including Erin Morley, Brenda Rae, Anthony Roth Costanzo, Ben Bliss, and Ryan Speedo Green.
Each artist will receive $10,000 awards. This is the first time in the company’s history that the award is given to more than one artist in a given year.
“With very few opportunities for singers to perform this season, we decided to divide the award,” said Met General Manager Peter Gelb in a press release. “Each one of these gifted artists deserves to win on their own, but we thought this was a more equitable way of dealing with the prize this year.”
Past winners of the award include Angel Blue, Lisette Oropesa, Nadine Sierra, Jamie Barton, Ailyn Pérez, Quinn Kelsey, Michael Fabiano, Bryan Hymel, Angela Meade, Isabel Leonard, Susanna Phillips, John Relyea, Matthew Polenzani, Joyce DiDonato, and Nathan Gunn.
The news comes after the recently announced appointment of Marcia Lynn Sells as the company’s first-ever Chief Diversity Officer as well as major statements from the Met Opera Orchestra over the lack of payment for musicians since the first quarter of 2020.