Elena Kats-Chernin’s Whiteley , which tells the life story of the infamous Australian artist Brett Whiteley, has been shortlisted for best World Premiere at the 2020 International Opera Awards. Featuring a libretto by Justin Fleming, Whiteleywas produced by Opera Australia and received its premiere at the Sydney Opera House in July of last year. The digital production, which was directed by David Freeman, was led by conductor Tahu Matheson and starred baritone Leigh Melrose as Brett Whiteley and soprano Julie Lea Goodwin as his wife Wendy Whiteley.

Opera Australia, Whiteley Julie Lea Goodwin and Melrose in Opera Australia’s  Whiteley. Photo © Prudence Upton

Kats-Chernin’s opera has stiff competition, nominated alongside Ellen Reid’s Pulitzer Prize-winning p r i s m, Raquel García Tomás’s Je suis narcissiste, Detlev Glanert’s Oceane, Stuart MacRae’s Anthropocene, Akira Nishimura’s Asters, Anno Schreier’s Schade, dass sie eine Hure warand Philip Venables’s Denis & Katya .

The annual International Opera Awards celebrates achievement in opera across performance, design, direction, education and outreach. Australia has had a consistent presence at the Awards over its now 19-year history, with Pinchgut Opera winning best Rediscovered Workfor its production of Hasse’s...