OPERA NEWS – Lise Davidsen, Erin Morley and George Shirley named as recipients of 18th Annual OPERA NEWS Awards

November 9, 2022

Three singers will be celebrated at the awards gala on April 16, 2023

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Editor-in-Chief F. PAUL DRISCOLL
announced today the recipients of the eighteenth year OPERA NEWS awards. This year’s winners – soprano Lisa Davidsensoprano Erin Morley and tenor and teacher George Shirley— will be celebrated at the Plaza in New York City on Sunday, April 16, 2023 as part of a formal evening wear event. Musical tributes by Stephanie Blyth and Latonia Moore is performed in honor of the award winners. There will also be performances at the gala Lawrence Brownlee, Joshua Hopkins and Ana Maria Martinez.

“The editors of OPERA NEWS and the staff and board of the Metropolitan Opera Guild eagerly await the eighteenth annual OPERA NEWS Awards on April 16,” said Mr. Driscoll. “We are proud to honor a trio of distinguished artists – Lise Davidsen, Erin Morley and George Shirley – who represent the highest level of achievement in opera.”

2023 OPERA NEWS prizewinner

Lisa Davidsen: The Norwegian soprano’s meteoric rise in the operatic world began in the summer of 2015 with a trio of awards in Plácido Domingo’s Operalia – first prize, the Birgit Nilsson Prize and the Audience Award – and reviews hailing her as opera’s most exciting new dramatic soprano celebrated . In 2017, Davidsen made her Glyndebourne debut as Ariadne in Ariadne on Naxos, made her concert debut at Wigmore Hall and sang at the BBC Proms for the first time. Davidsen’s European engagements have included Covent Garden, the Bavarian State Opera, the Vienna State Opera, the Zurich Opera, the Bayreuth Festival and the Aix-en-Provence Festival. She made her debut at the Metropolitan Opera in 2019 as Lisa in Tchaikovsky’s opera Queen of Spadesand had her first appearance at La Scala in Milan in 2021 in an evening of arias.

Davidsen returned to the Met in 2021–22 to sing her first company appearances of Ariadne, Eva in The Meistersinger of Nuremberg and Chrysothemis a Electra. In March 2023, Met audiences will welcome Davidsen as Marshal The Rosenkavalier.

OPERA NEWS Deputy Editor Henry Stewart applauds Davidsen: “Lise Davidsen is relatively early in her amazing career, almost fully formed as a one-off talent. Her soprano is gigantic; when she sings at the Met, you think you need to hear her in Central Park. But her artistry goes beyond sheer power: the voice is imbued with nuance and sensitivity, bringing her dramatic roles vividly to life.”

Erin Morley: Born in Salt Lake City, Utah, the lyric coloraturist is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music, the Juilliard School and the Lindemann Young Artist Development Program at the Met, where she made her company debut as a first madrigal singer in 2008 Manon Lescaut. Morley’s later Met roles included Pamina, Gilda, Olympia and Woglinde in both roles the Rheingold and Twilight of the GodsSister Constance in Dialogues des Carmelitesa niece in the premiere of John Doyle Peter Grime Staging, Podtochina’s daughter in the company premiere of The nose and the title role in the company premiere by Matthew Aucoin and Sarah Ruhl Eurydice. Morley returns to the Met this season as Sophie in the revival of Robert Carsen’s production The Rosenkavalier and as Pamina in the Met premiere of Simon McBurney’s production of The Magic Flute.

Senior Editor Louise T. Guinther says: “Soprano Erin Morley delights audiences in every corner of the coloratura repertoire with the crystal clear and stratospheric acrobatics of her singing, the flawless accuracy and stylistic acuity of her musicianship, and a dramatic range that encompasses everything from the vulnerable, genius Sophie to the mechanical puppet Olympia, the implacable Queen of the Night.

George Shirley: Shirley was born in Indianapolis and grew up in Detroit. She is a graduate of Wayne State University. After serving in the US Army Chorus, Shirley taught music in Detroit high schools before beginning his professional singing career. In April 1961 he won the Metropolitan Opera National Council’s audition bursary and made his New York City Opera debut the following October as Rodolfo in La bohemeand at the Met, as Ferrando in Cosi Fan Tutte. Shirley was the first black tenor to sing a lead role at the Met; In his twelve seasons on the Met chart, Shirley sang 250 performances for the company in New York and on tour. Celebrated for his elegance, sophistication and generosity, Shirley was a uniquely versatile artist; at the Met, his range of roles spanned the romantic passion of Almaviva in The Barbers of Siviglia and Alfredo in La traviatathe haunting power of the steersman in The Flying Dutchman and the Mozartian grace of Tamino, Don Ottavio and Ferrando. Away from the Met, Shirley’s notable performances included Loge, Pelléas and David Meistersinger at Covent Garden; Tamino and Idomeneo at Glyndebourne; Alwa in the US stage premiere of lulu and Apollo in daphne at the Santa Fe Opera; and Romilayu in the 1977 world premiere of Leon Kirchner’s at the New York City Opera lily. Shirley has also sung at the San Francisco Opera, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Michigan Opera Theatre, the Scottish Opera, the Deutsche Oper Berlin and the Dutch National Opera, among others.

Shirley was honored with the National Medal of Arts in 2015. He was a ten year faculty member at the Aspen Music Festival and School. Shirley was a faculty member at the University of Maryland from 1980 to 1987, when he joined the faculty of the University of Michigan School of Music, Theater and Dance. He is now the Joseph Edgar Maddy Distinguished University Emeritus Professor of Voice at the University of Michigan.

Editor-in-Chief F. Paul Driscoll says: “George Shirley’s unparalleled artistry remains a touchstone for all lovers of good singing. Whether singing Handel, Haydn or Mozart, Rossini, Debussy or Stravinsky, Shirley’s singing was remarkable for its honesty, strength and extraordinary beauty. At a time when artists of his race were not given a chance, Shirley was an inspiration to all artists: he was and is a man of honor and courage, a singer and teacher whose work has enriched his world.”

Proceeds from the OPERA NEWS Awards Gala and its live and silent auctions benefit the educational programs of the Metropolitan Opera Guild, which OPERA NEWS has been publishing since 1936. Stuart Holt, the Guild’s Director of Learning and Engagement, notes: “Many of our school partners find it difficult to offer artistic education programs themselves. Funds raised through the Opera News Awards help the Guild ensure that these schools can not only bring an engaging and inspiring music education to their classrooms, but also encourage the creativity and artistic exploration of their students.”

Single tickets to the OPERA NEWS Awards start at $1000; single benefit tickets are available for $1250; and President’s Circle tickets for $1500. Additionally, Benefactor tables are available for $10,000; President’s Circle tables at $12,500; and Gold Circle tables for $15,000.

Part of each ticket purchase is tax deductible within the framework of the statutory provisions. For event information or to purchase tickets, please visit the Metropolitan Opera Guild website (www.metguild.org) or call 212-769-7009.

OPERA NEWS published by the Metropolitan Opera Guild since 1936; It has the largest circulation of any classical music periodical in the United States and is the only North American publication to cover international opera. Editor-in-Chief F. Paul Driscoll directs the monthly, which has won six ASCAP-Deems Taylor Awards for excellence in music journalism. For more information and the latest opera news, visit OperaNews.com or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


For interviews with OPERA NEWS Editor-in-chief F. Paul Driscoll, or the 18th yearbook OPERA NEWS Award winners please contact Evelyn Kocak at [email protected] or 212-769-7091.


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