Opera Vlaanderen and De Munt nominated for International Opera Awards


The two opera houses have earned nominations in several of the top categories, including best company, orchestra and conductor

A double bill

Both Opera Vlaanderen and De Munt opera in Brussels have been nominated in multiple categories for the International Opera Awards. Sponsored by the London magazine Opera and BBC Radio 3, they are Europe’s most prestigious prizes in opera.

De Munt (pictured) been nominated for the top prize – Best Company. Coincidentally, Opera Vlaanderen won that very prize last year.

De Munt has two more nominations for choice prizes: Best Conductor for Alain Altinoglu and Best New Production for The Tale of Tsar Saltan by Rimski-Korsakov. Altinoglu has been De Munt’s orchestral director since 2016 and was recently offered a contract extension to 2025. Tsar Saltan was directed by Dmitri Tcherniakov and closed out the 2018-19 season last June.

Opera Vlaanderen, meanwhile, has been nominated for Best Choir and Best Symphonic Orchestra. It’s the third time in five years that the choir has been nominated in the category. Jan Schweiger has been the choir director since 2014.

How great would it be for our country to be home to the two best opera companies in the world?

- Jan Vandenhouwe

Orchestra director Alejo Pérez began with Opera Vlaanderen just last autumn and has conducted the productions Don Carlos, Verdi’s Requiem and Der Schmied von Gent, which is currently running.

Last year Opera Vlaanderen won the top prize at the International Opera Awards, that of Best Company. Opera director Jan Vandenhouwe says that he thought the jury “would skip over them” this year for that very reason.

“Being nominated for Choir and Symphonic Orchestra – the backbone of our company – is a very pleasant surprise,” he says. “Our choir has been recognised as one of the best opera choirs in the world, and now the orchestra has reached world-class status.”

He also offers his congratulations to De Munt for being nominated for Best Company. “I hope that we can hand over the title to them,” he said. “How great would it be for our country to be home to the two best opera companies in the world?”

The winners of the International Opera Awards will be announced at a ceremony in London on 4 May.

Photo courtesy De Munt