Golden Schikaneder Statues: The Third Annual Austrian Music Awards

Kevin Clarke
Operetta Research Center
9 June, 2015

Obviously, the whole world watches the Tony Awards and what’s happening on Broadway – which excludes operetta. (Even if The King and I and Gigi look very much like old-fashioned operetta of the extra-fluffy kind.) A day after the Tonys, there was also the Österreichische Musiktheaterpreis, handed out in Vienna to the top musical theater performances of the past year in Austria. There, the genres are eclectically mixed together, so operetta, musical comedy and opera all compete against one another, and Pia Douwes as Claire Zachanassian (in Besuch der alten Dame) was up against Jennifer Maines as Kundry in Wagner’s Parsifal.

The "Österreichische Musiktheaterpreis," a golden statue of Schikaneder. (Photo: ORF)

The “Österreichische Musiktheaterpreis,” a golden statue of Schikaneder. (Photo: ORF)

There are 12 categories and two special prizes, one of them for life achievement. The winners all got a little golden sculpture of Schikaneder (author of The Magic Flute). This year, for the first time, there was also a prize handed out by Austria’s biggest tabloid newspaper, the Kronen Zeitung Musical Preis.

The ceremony took place in the Ronacher theater, master of ceremonies was Christoph Wagner-Trenkwitz, the orchestra of the Vereinigte Bühnen Wien (VBW) played under the direction of Koen Schoots. (Remember him? He conducted the 1930 version of Im weißen Rössl in Berlin, when the Komische Oper revived that operetta.)

So, who won? Here’s the somewhat surprising list. It does not include any operetta, but a few of our greatest operetta heroes. For example, the production of Sweeney Todd at the Volksoper was conducted by none other than Joseph R. Olefirowicz, the man who made such a stir – years ago – with Benatzky’s Drei Musketiere in Nordhausen and Abraham’s Die Blume von Hawaii in Vienna. And obviously, Piotr Beczala as the winner of a special ORF prize is here because of his operetta outings in the last season. Oh, lest we forget, here is the jury, filled with names highly familiar to operetta-minded people: Rudolf Bibl, Peter Edelmann, Adrian Eröd, Hans-Joachim Frey, Rudolf Frey, Peter Heilker, Werner Hink, Susanne Kirnbauer-Bundy, Gabriele Lechner, Marika Lichter, Edith Lienbacher, Helen Malkowsky, Markus Marquardt, Dominique Mentha, Helga Papouschek, Natascha Petrinsky, Kurt Rydl, Michael Schade, Henrik Schaefer, Peter Seiffert, Harald Serafin, Milan Turkovic, Rolando Villazon, Stefan Vladar, Renato Zanella. (Yes, some of these names come as a bit of a surprise; they might also explain the fair amount of Wagner productions included in the winning department.)

Christoph Wagner-Trenkwitz, holding the "Österreichische Musiktheaterpreis." (Photo: Barbara Pálffy)

Christoph Wagner-Trenkwitz, holding the “Österreichische Musiktheaterpreis.” (Photo: Barbara Pálffy)


Neil Shicoff

Bestes Festival

Wiener Festwochen | Markus Hinterhäuser

Beste Ausstattung

Ronacher | Peter J. Davison (Bühne) / Uta Loher & Conny Lüders (Kostüm) | Der Besuch der alten Dame

Theater an der Wien  | Gideon Davey | Platée

Beste Ballettproduktion

Theater an der Wien | Hamburg Ballett/John Neumeier | Die Kameliendame

Beste Gesamtproduktion

Volksoper Wien | Sweeney Todd

Beste männliche Hauptrolle

Bühne Baden | Jochen Schmeckenbecher | Don Quixote/Cervantes | Der Mann von la Mancha

Beste männliche Nebenrolle

Theater an der Wien | Bo Skovhus I Nick Shadow | The Rake’s Progress

Bester männlicher Nachwuchs

Salzburger Landestheater | Alexey Birkus | Gremin | Eugen Onegin

Beste musikalische Leitung

Volksoper Wien | Hans Graf | Feuersnot

Beste Regie

Theater an der Wien | Damiano Michieletto | Idomeneo

Beste weibliche Hauptrolle

Tiroler Landestheater | Jennifer Maines | Kundry | Parsifal

Beste weibliche Nebenrolle

Landestheater Linz  | Bernadett Fodor | Erda | Das Rheingold

Bester weiblicher Nachwuchs

Oper Graz | Dshamilja Kaiser | Leonor de Guzman | La Favorite


ORFIII Preis | Piotr Beczala

Krone Musicalpreis | Uwe Kröger