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The Big Easy Foundation’s Tribute to the Classical Arts Awards 2016 

The Big Easy Foundation’s annual salute to dance, opera and classical music

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Photo by Cheryl Gerber

Winners of awards for outstanding performances of classical music, opera and dance in the New Orleans area in 2015 were announced at the Tribute to the Classical Arts luncheon Jan. 26 at the Hotel Monteleone.

  Winners included well-established arts organizations such as the New Orleans Opera Association, Jefferson Performing Arts Society and the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, which claimed awards for Best Classical Music Performance, Best Choral Arts Presentation and Best Chamber Music Performance.

  Young dance companies also took home a few trophies. KM Dance Project won Outstanding Modern Dance Presentation for Vessels. Maritza Mercado-Narcisse won Outstanding Choreography (New Work) for "I Was Told There'd be Cake," for the Marigny Opera Ballet's Christmas Concerto.

  Xavier University artist in residence Wilfred Delphin received a Lifetime Achievement Award. He and Edwin Romaine shared a successful career as a piano duo, performing at the Kennedy Center and for President Jimmy Carter at the White House. Delphin now focuses on educating young artists.

  "With my partner Edwin Romaine, I had a career defined by playing with big orchestras." Delphin said. "After Edwin died, I turned my focus to being in service, and service is in fact achievement. It is not sacrifice. I have great people to work with — great students; I (also) work with children. That's not service, that's rewarding."  

  Pat and Henry Shane received the Arts Patron Award for their support of the Jefferson Performing Arts Society and for donating artworks to museums across the country as well as to local municipalities.

  "It's time for us to give back to the city and area where we've gone to school and live," Henry Shane said after accepting the award.

  The event featured performances by nominated groups, including a duet from Die Fledermaus, which won Best Opera Production, and KM Dance Project's "80s Fever" from Vessels.

  Proceeds from the luncheon support the Gambit-affiliated Foundation for Entertainment, Development and Education, which awards annual grants to local artists and organizations. The luncheon is sponsored by Gambit, Anne Burr, The Hotel Monteleone, Adler's Jewelry, Hall Piano Company, Uptown Costume & Dancewear and WWNO 89.9 FM.

Classical Arts Awards

Lifetime Achievement Award
Wilfred Delphin

Arts Patron Award
Pat and Henry Shane

Best Classical Music Performance
Mahler: Symphony No. 2 in C Minor "Resurrection"
Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra (LPO)
Carlos Miguel Prieto, conductor
Orpheum Theater

Best Opera Production
Die Fledermaus
New Orleans Opera Association
E. Loren Meeker, director
Robert Lyall, conductorvMahalia Jackson Theater for the Performing Arts

Best Student/Community Opera
Suor Angelica
Loyola Opera Theatre/Montage Fine & Performing Arts
Bill Fabris, director
Carol Rausch, conductor
Loyola University, Louis J. Roussel Performance Hall

Best Chamber Music Performance
Mendelssohn's Octet in E Flat Minor for Strings
LPO Chamber Ensemble
Loyola University, Nunemaker Auditorium

Best Choral Arts Presentation
Bach: Mass in B Minor
First Baptist Church, New Orleans

Outstanding Ballet Presentation
The Nutcracker
Jefferson Performing Arts Society
Jefferson Performing Arts Center

Outstanding Modern Dance Presentation
KM Dance Project
Contemporary Arts Center

Outstanding Varietal Dance Presentation
re:create Spring Dance Concert
New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA) Dance Department
Staged by Heidi Malnar
NOCCA, Freda Lupin Memorial Hall

Outstanding Ethnic Dance Presentation
Mai Naizopo
Lula Elzy, choreographer
Komenka Ethnic Dance & Music Ensemble
Roussel Hall, Loyola University

Outstanding Choreography (New Work)
"I Was Told There'd Be Cake"
Maritza Mercado-Narcisse, choreographer
Christmas Concerto
Marigny Opera Ballet
Marigny Opera House


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