A Night of Stars – Chamber Singers, Chamber Artist and Étoile announced
The most prestigious awards were presented to three opera singers, a ballet dancer and a member of the orchestra on 29 June, 2016 on the stage of the Erkel Theatre. The Chamber Singer for the 2015/16 season are Eszter Sümegi, Ildikó Komlósi and István Kovácsházi. Chamber Artist is cellist Endre Balog, the Étoile title was awarded to ballerina Lili Felméry.
The awards were established by the management to honour the talent and performance of the soloist of the Hungarian State Opera. Throughout Europe the most prestigious award is the title of Kammersänger. This was adopted as the Hungarian State Opera Chamber Singer to be awarded to opera singers. For ballet dancers, the Hungarian State Opera Étoile Award is to build on the French ballet tradition. The awards were presented by General Director Szilveszter Ókovács during the gala performance conducted by Principal Music Director Péter Halász. The performance was broadcast live onto big screens in front of Saint Stephen's Basilica, where more than a thousand people could enjoy the show.
In the history of Hungarian Chamber Singer awards, opera singer Eszter Sümegi is the first one, who was awarded the title symbolized by a porcelain swan for the second time. Eszter Sümegi is an outstanding figure of Hungarian opera: her career is linked almost entirely to the Budapest Opera. In the year of her graduation she won a competition in Philadelphia, which could have induced an international career. However, she stayed in her homeland. On the stages of the Opera and the Erkel Theatre she has sung the widest variety of dramatic soprano roles. In the past season, she appeared on stage twenty-three times including operas by Strauss and Wagner as well as the title role of the new Aida production. In the summer premiere of Goldmark's The Queen of Sheba she sings the role of Sulamit. In the 2015/16 season, apart from returning to her iconic roles such as Die Frau ohne Schatten, she stars in several new productions: Il trittico, Lear, Die Walküre and Madama Butterfly.
ldikó Komlósi has been a guest singer on the most famous stages of Europe, America and the Far East. In the first premiere of the past season, Hungarian audiences welcomed her back as Santuzza in Mascagni's Cavalleria rusticana. She also achieved considerable success in the new production of Aida at the Erkel Theatre in April in her iconic role as Amneris, which she has sung over a hundred times all over the world: La Scala in Milan, the Royal Opera in London, the Liceu in Barcelona, and at the Arena di Verona in the direction of Franco Zeffirelli. In the 2015/16 season of the Hungarian State Opera she returns as Amme in Die Frau ohne Schatten, Judit in Duke Bluebeard's Castle as well is in new productions of Il trittico and Il trovatore.
The third Chamber Singer title was awarded to tenor István Kovácsházi. He has also appeared on various stages around the world. He has been a guest singer in Frankfurt, Tokyo, Tel-Aviv and Chicago, and has sung several roles in the Nationaltheater Mannheim. In the past season he mostly sang heroic roles of the German opera repertoire at the Hungarian State Opera and he also originated Max in the new production of Weber's Der Freischütz at the Erkel Theatre. In the new season of the Opera he returns in many repertoire pieces as well as in the new productions of Lear, Die Walküre and Tosca.
The Étoile of the Hungarian National Ballet in the 2015/16 season is ballerina Lili Felméry. The young dance artist won the Lausanne International Ballet Competition in 2008, then joined the Royal Ballet School. Before coming of age she made her spectacular debut as the female lead in Lászkó Seregi's choreography, Romeo and Juliet at the Opera House in Budapest. Since then she has danced the most important roles in various ballets. In the past season she made her debut in the title roles of Manon and Sylvia.
For the first time, the title Chamber Artist of the Hungarian State Opera was awarded to a member of the orchestra. The first recipient of the title is Endre Balog, cello section leader, who has alerady won numerous Hungarian and international prizes.