Opus Klassik Awards: Joyce DiDonato and Lang Lang Among 2019 Winners



— The second-annual Opus Klassik Awards honored the best of classical music at the Konzerthaus Berlin concert hall on Sunday night, with Joyce DiDonato and Christian Gerhaher both winning singer of the year and Paavo Järvi earning conductor of the year.

Other major winners at the event, which boasts 24 categories and was sponsored by classical labels trade group Verein zur Förderung der Klassischen Musik e.V., included Jonas Kaufmann for bestseller of the year (for An Italian Night – Live from the Waldbühne Berlin) and Midori Seiler for top concert recording.

Opus is the successor of the former Echo Klassik award that was abolished by the German music industry in the wake of a highly publicized anti-Semitism scandal involving winners of the mainstream Echo Awards. The first Opus took place in 2018, also at the Konzerthaus Berlin.

The Opus Klassik is a pure jury prize. Only the bestseller of the year award is based on sales figures.

"The new and committed collaboration of concert promoters, music publishers, journalists and label representatives — be it in the association, in the advisory board or in the jury — contributes to the fact that with the Opus Klassik we can now for the second time honour and celebrate the diversity of classical musical life,” commented Dr. Clemens Trautmann, chairman of the Verein zur Förderung der Klassischen Musik e.V.

Winners in the young artist of the year category included singers Emőke Baráth and Nadine Sierra, along with Christoph Sietzen (Marimba) and Konstantin Reinfeld (harmonica). Among the youngest winners of this year's Opus were 20-year-old flutist Lucie Horsch, in the concert recording category, and 23-year-old Tillmann Höfs, together with Aiko Nikami, in the category of chamber music recording duo.

Lang Lang's music video for "For Elise" was awarded the Opus Klassik for the newly introduced video of the year award, presented in collaboration with the streaming service IDAGIO.

Thomas Gottschalk hosted the gala, which included performances by Sol Gabetta, Christian Gerhaher, Anneleen Lenaerts, Igor Levit, Andreas Ottensamer, Konstantin Reinfeld and Benyamin Nuss, Nadine Sierra and Klaus-Florian Vog.

Universal Music Group’s family of classical labels, Deutsche Grammophon, Decca and ECM Records, received awards for a total of nine productions. "Congratulations to all our award winners,” Frank Briegmann, CEO & President Universal Music Central Europe and Deutsche Grammophon, said in comments to Billboard. “New talent, innovation, new formats and, of course, the top categories – [UMG labels] have been successful across the board, setting a shining example. The team of Opus Klassik can be very proud of this event as can our media partner ZDF, who have done a magnificent job of setting the stage for the stars of classical music."

Click here for a full list of this year’s Opus Klassik winners.