Jonas Kaufmann named best male singer at first International Opera Awards

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Jonas Kaufmann has won the prize for best male singer at the inaugural International Opera Awards.

The judges said he was “a phenomenon on the operatic stage” and that he brings “intelligence and a range of vocal colours to illuminate a wide repertoire”.

Kaufmann also won an award voted on by readers of Opera Magazine, which supported the event.

Meanwhile, Nina Stemme won in the best female singer category and Sophie Bevan won the young singer award.

The ceremony, which took place in London last night, also saw Antonio Pappano, music director at the Royal Opera, named best conductor.

Other British artists were recognised in the lighting designer group – in which Olivier award-winning Paule Constable claimed the prize – and in the best set designer category for Antony McDonald’s work. Former Littlewoods chairman Peter Moores won in the philanthropist category for "50 years' support of innovation and accessibility" and "opening doors for people in opera".

The International Opera Awards have been conceived by businessman Harry Hyman as “the first truly international set of prizes in the operatic world”.

The move follows the formation of the Opera Awards Foundation by Hyman and Opera Magazine’s editor John Allison in 2012, which will provide bursaries for the recipient of the young singer award.

Bevan, who won this year’s young singer award, said: “I can’t quite believe I won this award. I’ve mostly sung in England, Wales and Scotland so I don’t consider myself an international singer at the moment. I’m absolutely honoured and proud.”

Pappano said: “It’s fantastic to win conductor of the year at the first International Opera Awards – it’s a big one and most appreciated because the competition was stiff. I’m just happy that opera is getting all this attention.”