2013 Beverly Sills Artist Award
March 25, 2013
Tenor Bryan Hymel Receives
Eighth Annual Beverly Sills Artist Award
Bryan Hymel during his Metropolitan Opera debut as Aeneas in Berlioz's "Les Troyens" on December 26, 2012. Photo: Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera
New York, NY (March 25, 2013) – Tenor Bryan Hymel has been named the recipient of the eighth annual Beverly Sills Artist Award for young singers at the Metropolitan Opera. The $50,000 award, the largest of its kind in the United States, is designated for extraordinarily gifted singers between the ages of 25 and 40 who have already appeared in featured solo roles at the Met. The award, given in honor of Beverly Sills, was established in 2006 by an endowment gift from Agnes Varis, a managing director on the Met board, and her husband, Karl Leichtman. Hymel was presented with the award at the Met today by Muffy Greenough, daughter of Beverly Sills.
The Sills Award was created to help further recipients’ careers, including funding for voice lessons, vocal coaching, language lessons, related travel costs, and other professional assistance. Sills, who died in 2007, was well known as a supporter and friend to developing young artists, and this award continues her legacy as an advocate for rising singers. The 33-year-old Hymel is the eighth recipient of the award, following baritone Nathan Gunn in 2006, mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato in 2007, tenor Matthew Polenzani in 2008, bass John Relyea in 2009, soprano Susanna Phillips in 2010, mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard in 2011, and soprano Angela Meade in 2012.
"I am honored and humbled to receive the Beverly Sills Artist Award. I have always admired Ms. Sills’s unparalleled performing career, consummate artistry, and exceptionally giving and successful work in arts administration, and I am grateful to be associated with such an extraordinary legacy," Hymel said. "Her commanding vocalism and grace onstage were an inspiration for me in my unexpected Met debut this year. I offer sincere thanks to the Agnes Varis Trust, Peter Gelb, and the talented staff of the Metropolitan Opera."
Hymel made his Met debut earlier this season, singing the demanding role of Aeneas in a rare revival of Berlioz’s epic Les Troyens. Hymel was a late replacement for a colleague who decided to withdraw the role from his repertory, and his performance—which was also transmitted worldwide as part of the Met’s Live in HD series—met with considerable acclaim from both critics and the public. The New Orleans-born tenor will return to the Met in January 2014 to sing the role of Pinkerton in Puccini’s Madama Butterfly. In recent seasons, he has sung three major roles with the Royal Opera, Covent Garden: Aeneas in Les Troyens, the title role in Meyerbeer’s Robert le Diable, and the Prince in the company’s first-ever staging of Dvořák’s Rusalka. This season, he also sings Pinkerton with Pittsburgh Opera and New Orleans Opera, and the Duke of Mantua in Verdi’s Rigoletto with Lyric Opera Baltimore.