Nina Stemme, Birmingham Opera Company Win Big At Royal Philharmonic Society Awards

By David Salazar

Nina Stemme was announced as one of the Royal Philharmonic Society’s 2019 award winners.

Stemme took home the Singer award with the panel citing her appearances in the Royal Opera House’s Ring Cycle as the main reason behind the choice.

“As Brünnhilde in Wagner’s Ring Cycle at the Royal Opera, Nina Stemme gave one of the all-time great performances of opera’s most formidable role,” said the panel. “Definitive in its quality and humanity, it is remarkable that artists may yet set a new benchmark for such an iconic character – and this represents the pinnacle of her returning regularly to UK shores to sing Wagner here.”

She topped Elaine Michener and Carolyn Sampson in winning the award.

The Birmingham Opera Company’s “Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk” took home the the Opera and Music Theater category for outstanding production, or for the overall accomplishments of a company or individual in opera and music theatre.

“Another sensational production from Birmingham Opera Company embracing and embedding its community in world-class work. This is the kind of thing we all wish we were doing – a model to us all in being ambitious and truly going for it. It delivers the pure drama and emotional punch of opera without gimmicks – the audience feels right inside it, and it proves how resonant, inclusive and exciting opera is,” said the panel citation.

Other companies in the running were the Royal Opera and “The Second Violinist” from the Irish National Opera and Landmark Productions.

The awards, which will be presented on Dec. 1, 2019, are in their 30th iteration and featured a wide range of diversity, including the Gamechanger Award going to Chineke!, Britain’s first majority Black and Minority Ethnic orchestra. Other winners included violinist Alina Ibragimova, the Aurora Orchestra, and conductor  Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla, among others.