Opera Australia look set to win big, with a total of 27 nominations across Opera and Music Theatre categories.

Opera Australia has earned an impressive 27 nominations for the 2015 Helmpann Awards, with the company’s latest musical theatre offering, Anything Goes, now showing in Melbourne, leading the tally with nine nods. OA’s new children’s opera The Rabbits, written by Kate Miller-Heidke and co-commissioned with Barking Gecko Theatre Company and West Australian Opera, was also highly lauded, with seven nominations. The production opened to critical acclaim at the Perth International Arts Festival in January and will open in October at the Melbourne Festival. Hot on the heels of Anything Goes, the musical theatre smash-hit of 2015, Les Misérables, also raked in a sizeable number of nominations with eight nods in the Musical Theatre categories.
Director David McVicar secured an impressive two nominations in the Best Director of an Opera category for Opera Australia’s productions of Don Giovanni and Faust. Faust was also recognised in four other categories: Nicole Car nominated for Best Female Performer in an Opera, Teddy Tahu Rhodes nominated for Best Supporting Male Performer in an Opera, Michael Fabiano for Best Male Performer in an Opera, and Best Opera. Opera Australia’s Don Giovanni was also highly praised with five nominations including two nominations in the Best Supporting Female Performer category for Nicole Car and Taryn Fiebig. Teddy Tahu Rhodes and Shane Lowrencev were nominated for Best Male Performer and Best Supporting Male Performer respectively for their turns in Don Giovanni. The other big Opera winner in this year’s nominations was Brisbane Baroque’s Faramondo, which earned six nods, including the coveted Best Opera award and Best Director (Paul Curran). This year’s Handa Opera on the Harbour production of Aida, one of Opera Australia’s most ambitious undertakings in 2015, registered a disappointing result with just a single nomination, in the Best Female Performer category for Latonia Moore.
Imported Classical acts dominated the Best Chamber and/or Instrumental Ensemble Performance category, with nominations for French early music specialists Les Arts Florissants, British vocal group The Sixteen, and British-born pianist Stephan Hough, who became an Australian citizen in 2005. Australian ensemble the Goldner String Quartet, were also recognised in this award for their 20th anniversary celebrations presented by Musica Viva Australia. Australian’s were entirely absent from The Best Individual Classical Performance nominations, with American’s Emanuel Ax and William Christie, German violinist Christian Tetzlaff and the Israeli Chief Conductor of the West Australian Symphony Orchestra Asher Fisch making up the four nominees in that category.
Melbourne Symphony Orchestra earned two nods in the Best Symphony Orchestra Performance category, for their presentations of the Damnation of Faust and Mahler’s Symphony No. 3. The other two nominations for this award went to chamber scale orchestras – the ACO for their Reflections on Gallipoli ANZAC centenary tribute, and Baroque specialists Tafelmusik – with the conspicuous absence of any of the country’s other state orchestras.
In the Ballet and Dance categories, Sydney Dance Company came out on top, with six nominations for its recent Frame of Mind programme. Australian Ballet, the only Ballet company to be recognised by the Helpmann’s this year, only secured a single nomination, for recently retired Principal Dancer Madelein Eastoe’s sublime performance in Giselle
Sydney Theatre Company dominated in the Theatre categories, with 12 nominations in total. Five of those were in recognition of the company’s production of Samuel Beckett’s Endgame, with a nod for Best Direction (Andrew Upton) and performance nominations for three of the plays four actors: Hugo Weaving, Bruce Spence and Sarah Peirse. Belvoir St Theatre were also highly recognised with five nominations including Best Play for the company’s production of The Glass Menagerie, however Melbourne Theatre Company were only able to secure a single nomination, for Julie Forsyth’s Supporting Actress Performance as Nell in their production of Endgame.
The Helpmann Awards Ceremony takes place at the Captiol Theatre in Sydney on July 27. A full list of the 2015’s nominees can be found on the Helpmann Awards website.
Contribute to Limelight and support independent arts journalism.