Australia's Helpmann Awards Name Winners
By Vivien Schweitzer
The Australian entertainment industry has recognized the best of the country's performing arts in the past year with the sixth annual Helpmann Awards, presented at a ceremony on Monday (July 31) at Sydney's Lyric Theatre.
The Helpmanns were established in 2001 by Live Performance Australia (LPA) and modeled after the Tony Awards and the Olivier Awards. Prizes are given in categories including opera, classical music, musical theatre, dance, contemporary music and comedy.
Flight, Jonathan Dove's 1998 opera about a group of passengers stranded in an airport terminal, took the Best Opera honors with its production at this year's Adelaide Festival. Opera Australia's productions of Britten's Death in Venice and Stravinsky's The Rake's Progress took two trophies each. (It may be worth noting that, of the six opera awards given, five were for works written and sung in English.)
Opera ruled the classical music category this year as well, with both prizes — Best Classical Concert and Best Performance in a Classical Concert — going to the closing night program of the 2005 Queensland Music Festival: an unstaged performance of Wagner's Tristan und Isolde starring Lisa Gasteen and John Treleaven, with Richard Mills conducting the Australian Youth Orchestra. When this performance was in the planning stages, many observers charged that a work as heavy as Tristan was "totally inappropriate for a youth orchestra to undertake." But The Australian's critic described the result as "a triumphant finale ... a cast that history may view as the definitive Tristan of the age. Certainly, it will go down in the annals of Australian music history."
The only dance program to take more than one Helpmann was Jirí, an evening of four works by choreographer Jirí Kylián performed by the Australian Ballet.
The prize for Best New Australian Work went to Devolution, a collaboration between Australian Dance Theatre and its director, Garry Stewart, and Canadian robotics artist Louis-Philippe Demers that appeared at the Adelaide and Sydney Festivals.
Best Male Performer in an Opera:
Best Female Performer in an Opera:
Best Male Performer in a Supporting Role in an Opera:
Best Female Performer in a Supporting Role in an Opera:
Best Direction of an Opera:
Best Classical Concert Presentation:
Best Performance in a Classical Concert:
Best Ballet or Dance Work:
Best Choreography in a Ballet or Dance Work:
Best Male Dancer in a Ballet or Dance Work:
Best Female Dancer in a Ballet or Dance Work:
Best New Australian Work:
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