The winners of the International Opera Awards were presented at a gala ceremony in London’s Sadler’s Wells theatre yesterday, April 29. Asmik Grigorian took the Female Singer of the Year award for her role as Salome at Salzburg festival.
She is known as the daughter of famous opera soloists Irena Milkevičiūtė and Geham Grigorian became a world opera sensation over summer and on this evening her title was anchored – she is currently the best female opera soloist in the world.
One of the founders of the Bohemians, long time soloist at the Vilnius City Opera, she performed last in Vilnius at Dalia Ibelhauptaitė’s Pikų Dama[Queen of Spades], performing the role of Liza. Asmik Grigorian career once started namely at the Congress Palace with the now iconic role of Musette in La Boheme. And the rest is, as they say, history. A long, stormy and emotional journey to the largest stages and highest accolades. Today, Asmik is preparing for the main role at La Scala in famous director Graham Vick’s opera The Dead City.
“Trust. Understanding. Support. Love. What else could you want? Perhaps some time in life? So I could thank everyone, who helped me reach where I am today. Thank you,” Asmik Grigorian spoke laconically when receiving her award, while her husband, director Vasily Barkhatov was also nominated for an award this year alongside such famous creators as Calixto Bieito, Katie Mitchell and Krzysztof Warlikowski.
The annual International Opera Awards ceremony, which is comparable to the Oscars, honours exceptional achievements on stage, backstage, the orchestra pit and many other operatic art areas. Nominations are made for troupes, choirs, young performants, debutants and also lifetime awards are bequeathed. Another Lithuanian, Justina Gringytė, has won in the young performer category where Asmik has also won before.
In 2019, over 100 nominations were made in twenty different categories. They were selected from thousands of proposals by an expert commission, which is headed by John Allison, the editor of one of the most important publications on operatic art Opera Magazine, which has been published since the 1950s.
The awards were founded by philanthropist and opera lover Harry Hyman and are intended to not only honour well-known stars, but also to support the upcoming generation of talents. The International Opera Awards also gather funds for a special charity fund, which aims to help opera talents across the world improve.