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Opera News Awards Preview

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It’s that time of year again! The 2011-12 opera season is coming to a close, but it hasn't ended just yet. There’s still room for a last hurrah, with Opera News magazine's annual Awards Gala. F. Paul Driscoll, the editor in chief of Opera News and an organizer of the ceremony, gives us his scoop on the honorees and shares a sampling of their musical accomplishments. The ceremony will take place Sunday, April 29 at the Plaza Hotel in New York City.

For the last six years, the glamorous event has honored five big names in opera along with their contributions. Attending the event are presenters, performers, singers, directors and conductors — all in one room on one night. A great feat to put together, as Driscoll explains.

Unlike other awards ceremonies, this one sticks purely to the music more than hype. It doesn’t have any categories. There's nothing televised in the early morning, and the honorees are announced almost a year in advance.

The five artists honored for Distinguished Achievement this year are director Peter Sellars, sopranos Anja Silja and Karita Mattila, and baritones Peter Mattei and Dmitri Hvorostovsky.