ENO took the Opera Award at the last ever South Bank Show Awards ceremony yesterday at the Dorchester Hotel, Park Lane. Tenor of the moment Rolando Villazón presented them with the award, for David Alden’s production of Peter Grimes.
The Classical Music Award went to the Hallé Orchestra and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra for their project Nielsen; Inextinguishable, a concert cycle of Nielsen’s symphonies.
David Alden’s winning production of Peter Grimes sold-out, achieving a total audience of over 19,000 people. ENO Music Director Edward Gardner conducted the production, which boasted a cast including Stuart Skelton, Amanda Roocroft, Gerald Finley, Felicity Palmer and Matthew Best.
This is the third year in a row that ENO has won the Award. ENO Artistic Director John Berry commented on the news: ‘Winning this award for Peter Grimes highlights how ENO’s creative influence both in the UK and overseas has gained pace over the last three seasons.’
The works of Benjamin Britten are at the core of ENO’s repertoire, and Peter Grimes holds especial significance for the company. It was the world premiere of this opera that re-opened the Sadler’s Wells Theatre, ENO’s previous home, following the Second World War.
Julian Lloyd Webber and his band opened yesterday’s Awards ceremony with the South Bank Show theme tune - Andrew Lloyd Webber's Variations: Paganini Caprice in A minor No. 24. The star-studded audience, which included opera stars Lesley Garrett, Bryn Terfel and Russell Watson, also heard the world premiere of the title song from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s new show Love Never Dies, with Lloyd Webber himself accompanying the show’s star Sierra Boggess.
This is the last South Bank Show Awards, following ITV’s controversial decision last year to end the South Bank Show. The ceremony will be broadcast on ITV1 on Sunday 31 January.