Check out the winners of the 2021 Opera XXI Awards

For the season interrupted by the pandemic, Ópera XXI incorporated the Best Digital Initiative award during the confinement, which the jury awarded ex aequo to the MyOperaPlayer platform led by the Teatro Real and the Peralada Livestream Festival. The “OLA Award”, in collaboration with Ópera Latinoamérica and which rewards the “Best New Latin American Production”, went to Rossini’s production of La Italiana en Argel, presented at the Municipal Theater of Santiago de Chile in 2019 with the stage direction by Rodrigo Navarrete.


This morning the winners of the third edition of the national lyrical awards, the Ópera XXI Awards, which recognize the best of the Spanish stages in the performance work (best singer and best young singer), musical direction (best director), operatic production (best stage director, best new production, best Latin American production) and the most outstanding initiative to promote lyricism during the 2019 season -2020, the cycle that interrupted the pandemic and forced the scenic spaces to close down during the worst months of Covid-19.


The presentation was attended by the president of Ópera XXI and director of the Peralada festival, Oriol Aguilà; the secretary of Ópera XXI and general director of the Palau de les Arts de Valencia, José Monforte, and the director of the Teatro de la Zarzuela and host of the event, Daniel Bianco.



“We are especially excited to present these awards and have a date on the horizon in which we will all meet again in person, after so many months of enormous effort on the part of all the theaters, festivals and seasons; of the artists and the magnificent professional teams that we have ”, Oriol Aguilà pointed out during the presentation. “It has been a strenuous few months for everyone and it is a pride to be part of a sector, of a cultural activity, which has been the admiration of the world for its ability to organize and move forward. We have never felt so useful and essential in our vocation of function and public service ”, he added.


The edition of the awards that symbolize the stoppage due to the pandemic in the Spanish seasons has an absolutely exceptional character and includes an award for the Best Digital Initiative during confinement, with the purpose of highlighting and valuing activities, generosity and effort developed in the digital and audiovisual field by theaters, seasons and festivals since March 2019, within the framework of social distancing and security measures to prevent the spread of Covid19 in our country. The award ceremony will take place in person at the Teatro de la Zarzuela on September 11, 2021.


The president of Ópera XXI admitted that: “It is important, when remembering, to remember those first closings and cancellations, the uncertainty of a completely new and unknown situation for us and the path of constant reinvention that we have traveled up to now. In those months of 2019 and early 2020, the members of Ópera XXI were in permanent contact and pooling our experiences, our ways of establishing security protocols and organizing capacity to make ‘Safe Culture’ a reality. We have supported each other in the most difficult moments and have managed to find solutions to continue in contact with the public, our true reason for being, and to maintain, as far as possible, the schedules and activity calendar of our artists, revalidating once again the essential nature of our activity, our capacity for cohesion and the extremely high professionalism and organizational capacity of the organizations that make up Ópera XXI ”.




The jury of this edition, which met at the Teatro Real in Madrid on May 10, 2021, is made up of people of recognized prestige and with a deep knowledge of current national lyrical activity. It was integrated by critics and specialized journalists, representatives of the main national and international media, Gonzalo Alonso, Maricel Chavarría, José Luis Jiménez, Alejandro Martínez, Jesús Ruiz Mantilla, Richard Martet, Fernando Sans-Rivière, Eva Sandoval, Victoria Stapells, Javier Pérez Senz, Ana Vega Toscano and manager Andrés Rodríguez, representing and vice president of Ópera Latinoamérica (OLA). Also present in the deliberations were the president of Ópera XXI, Oriol Aguilà, the secretary of the association, José Monforte, and the coordinator of the awards, Nieves Pascual.


In addition, these awards include the granting of three honorary prizes: for personal trajectory, for cultural institution and for promoting patronage, designated in Assembly by all members of Ópera XXI.


Check out all the winners below:



The Best Singer Award goes to the baritone Carlos Álvarez (Málaga, 1966), for his interpretation of the role of Rodrigo from the opera ‘Don Carlo’, Verdi, at the Teatro Colón, September 2019, within the lyrical program organized by the Friends of the Opera of A Coruña.

Carlos Álvarez has one of the most solid careers in the opera scene in recent times. He has sung in the most important coliseums in the world, such as La Scala in Milan, ROH Covent Garden, Salzburg Festival, Staatsoper in Vienna or La Arena in Verona, in addition to being acclaimed year after year on the main stages of our country. His numerous awards include a Grammy Award (2001), the Cannes Classical Award and the Gold Medal for Fine Arts (2003), the prestigious title of Kammersänger the Vienna Opera (2013) and he holds the title of Doctor Honoris Causa by the University of Malaga. In the 2019/2020 season, he also played the character of Alfonso XI in the opera ‘The favorite’, Donizetti, at the Cervantes Theater in Malaga.



The jury also awarded a Special Mention within this section to the bass-baritone Carlos Chausson (Zaragoza, 1950), for his interpretation of the leading role in the opera ‘Don Pasquale’ at the Teatro de la Maestranza in Seville in October 2019.


Chausson started his career in San Diego, singing the role of Masseto ‘Don Giovanni’. From that moment he began to stand out in the main companies of the United States. From that moment he began to stand out in the main companies in the United States, and later in the main opera houses in the world and in Spain, in cities such as Vienna, Zurich, Milan, Berlin, Barcelona or Madrid, and in important festivals, such as the one in Salzburg. His wide repertoire includes ‘Il barbiere di Siviglia’, ‘Le nozze di Figaro’, ‘Così fan tutte’, ‘L’italiana in Algeri’, ‘La fille du regime’ or ‘La Cenerentola’, among others, always standing out for the enormous mastery with which he tackles the buffoon roles.



The tenor Xabier Anduaga will receive the Best Young Singer Award for his brilliant path of success, which, at 26, has already established him as one of the best performers of today with an outstanding national and international career.


Voice of the Orfeón Donostiarra since he was 7 years old, Xabier Anduaga (San Sebastián, 1995) has participated in the Rossini de Pesaro Festival since 2016, he opened the Donizetti Festival in Bergamo with enormous success in 2018, he was the great winner of the Operalia contest held in Prague in 2019 and, at his age, and with just five years of career, an important gap has already been opened in several of the most prestigious theaters and national and international festivals, the result of an undeniable virtuosity. He debuted the role of Ferrando at the Teatro de la Maestranza in October 2020; That same month he participated in the concert ‘Viva el bel canto’ by Amigos de Ópera de A Coruña, he participated in the ‘Christmas Stars’ gala at AGAO last December.



The Best Musical Director Award goes to Riccardo Frizza, for his work leading the performances of ‘Lucia di Lammermoor’, Donizetti, at ABAO Bilbao Ópera (Palacio Euskalduna) in October 2019.

Musical director of the Donizetti Opera Festival in Bergamo since 2017, Riccardo Frizza regularly conducts in the most important theaters, musical institutions and festivals on the international scene and has been in charge of several of the main orchestras in the world. His presence is also common in coliseums and festivals in our country, where in 2021 he conducted Les Contes d’Hoffmann at the Gran Teatre del Liceu and the Las Tres Reinas concert with the final scenes of Donizetti’s Tudor trilogy (Anna Bolena, Maria Stuarda and Roberto Devereux) with soprano Sondra Radvanovsky. In September he will return to the Teatro Real inaugurating his season with La Cenerentola. He is specialized in the Italian repertoire of composers such as Donizetti, Bellini, Rossini, Verdi and Puccini.



The award for Best New Production goes to Turandot, Puccini, programmed by the Gran Teatre del Liceu in October 2019.


Futuristic and poetic bet, this montage with which the Barcelona video artist Franc Aleu debuted as a stage director, with Susana Gómez from Oviedo in the co-direction, filled the stage with visual metaphors, colors and textures, making use of the latest technologies.

The Teatre del Liceu opened the 2019/2020 season with this title, which featured an important creative team that included, in addition to Franc Aleu and Susana Gómez, the scenography of Carles Berga (and Franc Aleu), the costumes of Chu Uroz , multimedia technologies by José Vaaliña, lighting by Marco Filibeck, 3d art infographics by Nil Estany, Martina Ampuero and Romà Hereter; assistance to the stage direction of Salva Bolta, assistance to the wardrobe of Joana Poulastrou, assistance to the lighting of Oscar Frosio, construction of the scenography of Delfini Group S.R.L., preparation of the costumes of Pachuco, Txu, S.L .; Multimedia technologies from Eyesberg Studio, stage robots from Universal Robots and their integration by Iberfluid Systems and the VR App programmer Giuseppe Morittu.





The Award for the Best Lyric Promotion Initiative is for the Zarza Project, an artistic and dissemination project created by the director of the Teatro de la Zarzuela, Daniel Bianco, with the aim that young generations know the Spanish lyrical heritage, of approach new audiences and open the door to new generations of artists.


The motto of the project is “Zarzuela made by young people and for young people” and to date, in its five editions, it has adapted four classics of our boy genre: ‘La revoltosa’, ‘El duo de la africana’, ‘La verbena de la Paloma ‘, and’ Agua, azucarillos y aguardiente ‘, and has presented an original title, the recent’ Amores en zarza ‘, whose story unfolds through a selection of musical numbers from different zarzuelas. Starring artists between 18 and 30 years old, the works of ‘Zarza’ adapt the texts and the scene to the contemporaneity of the new public.




The jury of the Ópera XXI Awards granted ex aequo the Best Digital Initiative Award during the confinement to the My Opera Player platform, the Teatro Real video library platform, and the Peralada Livestream Festival.


After the closing of the theaters in March 2020, due to Covid-19, and during the harshest months of the pandemic, the Royal Theater consolidated the projection of its audiovisual platform and offered all its contents to the world, so that thousands of people could enjoy its extensive catalog openly and with free access to content. In addition, it expanded its offer of shows and incorporated new sections to offer a documentary and didactic vision and enrich the user experience.


Faced with the impossibility of offering its shows in person in July 2020, the Peralada International Festival reinvented itself and launched the Peralada Livestream Festival, an exceptional edition adapted to the situation and totally free that took place on the premises of the Carmen del Castillo de Peralada, which featured artists such as the bailaora María Pagés, the soprano Sabina Puértolas, the musical director Josep Pons leading the Liceu Symphony Orchestra; or the singer and composer Alfonso de Vilallonga. The festival developed in parallel an informative campus and an exhibition space.




OLA AWARD, in collaboration with Ópera Latinoamérica


The Award for Best New Latin American Production went to the production of ‘La Italiana en Argel’, by Rossini, which could be seen at the Municipal Theater of Santiago de Chile in October 2019, with stage direction by Rodrigo Navarrete and musical by José Miguel Pérez-Sierra.



Navarrete places the action between the late 60s and early 70s of the 20th century, at a time that is linked and thus interspersed in his proposal with the independence of Algeria (1962), the appearance of the mini skirt (Mary Quant) and the first important female leaderships.




After reading the jury record and revealing the record of the third edition, the secretary of Ópera XXI and general director of the Palau de les Arts de Valencia, José Monforte, stressed that: “They have been difficult months for lyrical. That is why these awards are especially important this year. They symbolize the effort of many people in the sector to overcome the uncertainty and difficulties of a season that was cut short by the pandemic. Culture is necessary and, furthermore, an economic engine. We are excited and eager to continue working and see our theaters again filled with 100% capacity ”.




The director of the Teatro de la Zarzuela, Daniel Bianco, remarked for the part of him during which this time of pandemic “has served to determine our rightful place, our ability to react to the most serious and unexpected problems.” Those of us who are part of Ópera XXI, he added, “have been for many months a beacon of world poetry, a mirror where from any corner of the world they have wanted to look at themselves. An example of how you can act in the most responsible way without giving up raising the curtain every night. And the public, who after all is the one who gives us life, has understood it that way; he wanted it that way. Ultimately, we have learned that culture is more and more necessary and, of course, safe ”.





During the first week of May, the Opera XXI Assembly, held at the Teatro de la Maestranza in Seville, established the honorary awards of this third edition of the Opera XXI Awards.


The award for a lifetime, the Honorary Award for the Person, will be received at the September gala by stage director Emilio Sagi, after celebrating a forty-year career as a cultural manager and stage director.

After obtaining a doctorate in Philosophy and Letters from the University of Oviedo, he moved to the University of London to study Musicology. As a stage director, he appeared in Oviedo, his hometown, in 1980, with ‘La Traviata’, by Verdi, and since then he has built a career of enormous prestige, becoming one of the Spanish artists with the greatest international projection and that most He has contributed to updating both the opera and the zarzuela. In 1990 he was appointed director of the Teatro de la Zarzuela, a position that he will hold until December 1999. He was also artistic director of the Teatro Real in Madrid (2001-2005) and the Teatro Arriaga in Bilbao (2008-2015).


His stage experience ranges from baroque zarzuela to contemporary opera, which he has conducted in several of the best theaters in the world. He has promoted co-productions with different national and international theaters and brought opera and zarzuela to stages such as La Scala in Milan, among many others. He has just received the Gold Medal of Fine Arts from Spain and his hometown has recently named him Favorite Son. Emilio Sagi opened the 2019/2020 season at the Palau de les Arts with the stage direction of ‘Le nozze di Figaro’, Mozart, and directed ‘Il Pirata’, Bellini, at the Teatro Real in Madrid in December 2019.



The Telefónica company was designated in the Assembly as the Best Patronage Initiative, for its commitment to support the seasons of different theaters, festivals, educational and dissemination programs and approach to opera, especially highlighting its sensitivity in the work of audiovisual projects and digitization.



On this occasion, the Honorary Award distinguishes the Maó Opera Season, which is organized by the Menorcan association of Friends of Opera de Maó. Thus, the important task of promoting, promoting and disseminating the opera of the Menorcan foundation is rewarded during its 50 uninterrupted seasons of opera.


On March 17, 1971, a group of friends encouraged by Rafael Timoner, mayor of Maó, decided to establish a private non-profit association that would be able to bring together people who love opera, to promote, organize and maintain the tradition. Menorcan operatic. Amics d ’s`Ópera de Maó, the following year, would already be in charge of celebrating the First Week of Opera with‘ Il barbiere di Siviglia ’, Rossini, and‘ Fausto ’, Gounod. They carry out their activity in the oldest operatic coliseum in Spain, the Teatre Principal, built in 1829.