Teatro Real is positioned as the best opera house in the world.

The International Opera Awards (IOA), an organization that seeks to recognize and reward theaters, artists, productions, festivals and opera workers around the globe, in its 2021 version, has awarded the Teatro Real (Spain) as the best opera house in the world.

This recognition is based on the quality of its artistic programming and its work carried out during 2019.

His artistic director, Joan Matabosch, has had words of gratitude for such distinction, emphasizing the work of the Teatro Real team and each of its workers, who “every day, with determination, professionalism and enthusiasm, manage to raise the curtain.”

We also highlight the Mexican tenor Javier Camarena who won the award for best male opera singer of the year.

Check below the official press release of the Teatro Real and International Opera Awards.


  • The award was presented tonight, during the Gala live streaming from London, which was held during the last performance of Peter Grimes, by Benjamin Britten (Ivor Bolton/Deborah Warner) at the Teatro Real.
  • The awards are for 2019, as the pandemic prevented the 2020 International Opera Awards Gala from being held last year.
  • The Teatro Real, which was awarded as best Opera Company, was also nominated in the categories of best Opera Orchestra and World Premiere (Je suis narcissiste, by Raquel García Tomás). Its production of Street Scene, by Kurt Weill (Tim Murray/John Fulljames), was included in the category for best Recording (Complete Opera) for Bel Air Classiques.
  • The Teatro Real has also been mentioned by the jury as an example of the resilience of the opera world in the face of the pandemic.
  • Spanish singer Xabier Anduaga, who is currently at the Teatro Real rehearsing Gaetano Donizetti’s opera Viva la Mamma (Evelino Pidò/Laurent Pelly), received the award as the best Young Singer together with
  • In 2019, the Teatro Real premiered 4 new co-productions: the world premiere of Je suis narcissiste, by the young composer Raquel García Tomás (Vicius Kattah/Marta Pasos) ­ nominated in the category for best World Premiere­; Idomeneo, by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Ivor Bolton/Robert Carsen); Capriccio, by Richard Strauss (Asher Fish/Christof Loy) and Falstaff, by Giuseppe Verdi (Daniele Rustioni/Laurent Pelly). It presented its co-production of Vincenzo Bellini’s Il Pirata (Maurizio Benini/Emilio Sagi) , premiered at La Scala, began the Wagnerian Tetralogy with Das Rheingold  (Pablo Heras-Casado/Robert Carsen) and staged Francesco Cavalli’s La Calisto (Ivor Bolton/David Alden); Giuseppe Verdi’s Il Trovatore (Maurizio Benini/Francisco Negrín), Don Carlo (Nicola Luisotti/David McVicar), Gaetano Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore (Marc Piollet/Damiano Michieletto) and Henry Purcell’s Dido & Aeneas (Christopher Moulds/Sasha Waltz).
  • Joan Matabosch, artistic director of the Teatro Real, thanked the jury for the three nominations and the award for the best opera company 2019, and expressed his gratitude to all the artists and workers, public administrations, sponsors, media and public who have supported the Teatro Real during the pandemic period, allowing it to maintain its programming and activities.


Winners announced at 2021 International Opera Awards

  • Online event features performances from winners including Lise Davidsen, Javier Camarena and Jamie Barton
  • Teatro Real Madrid wins Opera Company of the Year. Full list of winners below
  • Tribute paid to resilience of opera industry during the coronavirus Pandemic

The much-anticipated winners of the 2021 International Opera Awards sponsored by Mazars were tonight [10 May 2020] announced in an online ceremony watched around the world.

The Awards, considered opera’s answer to the Oscars, celebrate achievements in opera around the globe over the last calendar year in a wide range of categories. After 2020’s live ceremony was forced off stage by the pandemic, the online event celebrated work done in 2019 while also paying tribute to the resilience of the opera world during the pandemic in 2020.

Opera Company of the year was presented to the Teatro Real Madrid, recognised both for a superlative 2019 season and as one of the first opera companies to return to live performance under lockdown conditions, with an acclaimed La Traviata in July 2020.

Norwegian soprano Lise Davidsen was named Female Singer of the year while Mexican tenor Javier Camarena took the title of Male Singer of the year, dedicating the award to “the entire artistic community” for its commitment despite the challenges of 2020.

Also celebrated was American mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton, voted by the public as the Opera Magazine Readers’ Award winner, who said she was “absolutely gobsmacked” by the win. Mezzo soprano Vasilisa Berzhanskaya and tenor Xabier Anduaga shared the Mazars Young Singer award while the Salzburg Festival – another company to lead the way in performing under covid restrictions – was named Festival of the Year for the second time, having first won the title at the inaugural awards in 2013.

In the UK, there were wins for both Birmingham Opera Company (Education & Outreach) and its Music Director Alpesh Chauhan (Newcomer of the Year) while Sir David Pountney was honoured as winner of the Good Governance Award for Leadership in Opera for his significant contributions as head of the Bregenz Festival and more recently Welsh National Opera.

The 2021 Lifetime Achievement was presented to Bernard Haitink, who retired in 2019 aged 90. Reflecting on his career in a touching acceptance speech, the conductor said: “I can honestly say that some of the deepest and most moving experiences of my musical life have been in the opera house…It has been a gift”. The award for Philanthropy went to the Martina Arroyo Foundation for its work with young artists and outreach initiatives, with the legendary diva herself accepting the award from New York. A new award, presented in association with the organisation Opera For Peace was presented to Denyce Graves, recognising the American mezzo’s deep commitment to social causes.

Alongside the award presentations, the online event included a “Celebration of Resilience”, paying tribute to some of the many organisations and individuals who staged live or digital performances during the pandemic and found innovative ways to support the industry and wider community. Two video montages included clips from English National Opera’s “Breathe” programme, The Atlanta Opera’s outdoor “Big Tent Concert Series”, Pinchgut Opera’s film “A Delicate Fire” and soprano Lisette Oropesa’s hugely popular online masterclass series, along with many others.

As in previous years, the ceremony was presented by BBC Radio 3’s Petroc Trelawny and included performances from winners Lise Davidsen, Jamie Barton, Javier Camarena, Xabier Anduaga, Vasilisa Berzhanskaya and countertenor Jakub Jozef Orlinski (winner of the Recording (Solo Recital) award). There was also singing from tenor Stuart Skelton (Artistic Ambassador to the Opera Awards Foundation) and soprano Ermonela Jaho, as well an exclusive performance recorded on stage at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden featuring soprano Alexandra Lowe, a member of the Jette Parker Young Artist Programme. The event also raised funds for the Opera Awards Foundation Artist Hardship Fund, set up in 2020 to provide emergency grants to young artists severely affected by the pandemic.

Continuing a tradition of the live ceremonies, the evening concluded with a chorus of past and present Foundation bursary recipients, captured virtually in association with Random Opera singing “Va, pensiero” from Verdi’s Nabucco. The full list of winners can be found below.

Aside from the Readers’ Award, all winners were chosen by an international jury of opera professionals chaired by John Allison, editor of Opera magazine (the Founding Media Partner of the Awards) and classical music critic of The Daily Telegraph. Over 100 finalists from six continents were shortlisted, demonstrating the truly global reach of the Awards. Harry Hyman, founder of the International Opera Awards, said: “Much has changed since we originally announced the shortlists for these awards in early 2020, but the opera world has risen to recent challenges with passion, determination and a spirit of resilience and innovation which has been inspiring to witness. Our long-awaited winners – and indeed all of our finalists – remind us why this wonderful art-form is so important, and so worth fighting for. We look forward to seeing them return to live performance in the months to come and can’t wait to celebrate together in person again soon.”

David Herbinet, Head of Audit at headline sponsor Mazars, said: “On behalf of Mazars I congratulate all the well-deserved winners and in particular Vasilisa Berzhanskaya and Xabier Anduaga who shared the Mazars’ Young Singer Award. It was wonderful to be part of this year’s virtual event and celebrate the achievements and resilience of so many talented people across the opera world, whilst enjoying some truly spectacular performances.”

The Awards, founded in 2012, aim to raise the profile of opera as an art form, to recognise and reward success in opera and to generate funds to provide bursaries for aspiring operatic talent from around the world. Since 2012 over £360,000 has been raised by the Opera Awards Foundation.



Metropolitan Opera


Kirill Petrenko


Małgorzata Szczęśniak


Robert Carsen


Birmingham Opera Company


Lise Davidsen


Salzburg Festival

LEADERSHIP sponsored by the Good Governance Institute

David Pountney


Bernard Haitink


Javier Camarena


Tale of Tsar Saltan (Tcherniakov, La Monnaie De Munt)


Alpesh Chauhan


Teatro Real, Madrid


Denyce Graves


Bayerisches Staatsorchester / Bayerische Staatsoper, Munich


Martina Arroyo Foundation


Jakub Józef Orliński: Facce d’amore (Erato)


Thomas: Hamlet (Naxos) [DVD]


Jamie Barton


Moniuszko: Paria (Teatr Wielki, Poznań)


Glanert: Oceane (Deutsche Oper, Berlin)

YOUNG SINGER sponsored by Mazars

Xabier Anduaga

Vasilisa Berzhanskaya