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Julius Rudel, conductor

Julius Rudel, conductor




            On Sunday, January 11, 2009, Opera Index will present its 2009 Distinguished Achievement Award to Julius Rudel at its annual Winter Gala to be held at 6 p.m. in the Grand Salon at the Jumeirah Essex House, the luxury hotel on Central Park South.  Opera Index is a non-profit organization that since 1984 has boosted the careers of more than 250 young singers through its annual vocal competitions.  Each year it also recognizes the opera legends of our time with its Distinguished Achievement Award.  

             The Opera Index Winter Gala is the highlight of the organization’s year of activities.  Under the artistic direction of celebrated opera soprano Elaine Malbin and hosted by New York City Opera dramaturg Cori Ellison, the Winter Gala is a black tie affair where attendees, including many opera and theater stars, will celebrate the extraordinary career of Julius Rudel and have the opportunity to hear Opera Index’s major competition winners—the opera stars of tomorrow—accompanied by James Besser.  The Distinguished Achievement Award will be presented to Mr. Rudel by his son, Anthony Rudel, writer, broadcaster, and classical music expert, whose new book Hello Everybody! The Dawn of American Radio has just been published by Harcourt.

            Tickets for the Opera Index Winter Gala range from $300 to $1000 and will be available beginning mid-November by contacting Opera Index Executive Director Robert F. Crosby at or 212-721-9828.


About Julius Rudel

            Opera has been Julius Rudel’s passion ever since his earliest years in Vienna when he was a regular in the fourth-floor standing-room gallery of the Vienna Staatsoper. His seven-decade career that has taken him to the stages of the world's greatest opera houses where he has conducted a repertoire that numbers some 165 operas spanning four centuries, is one of the legendary careers in music history. During the course of that career, he also led six American arts institutions.  His 22-year tenure as general director and principal conductor of New York City Opera, where his advocacy of contemporary music, resulting in a legacy of 19 world premieres and seven U.S. premieres, as well as three seasons of all American operas, stands unchallenged.  Mr. Rudel was the first artistic director of the Kennedy Center, where he commissioned Leonard Bernstein's Mass and led the World Premiere of Ginastera’s Beatrix Cenci; the first music director of the Wolf Trap Festival; and the music director of the Cincinnati May Festival, Caramoor, and the Buffalo Philharmonic.  He has also conducted major opera companies throughout the world, including more than twenty-five years of performances at the Metropolitan Opera.  Julius Rudel has earned the respect of colleagues, critics, audiences, and the hundreds of singers he has conducted.  Known as a "singer's conductor," he has nurtured the careers of many prominent vocal artists, among them Beverly Sills, Placido Domingo, Samuel Ramey, and some who have also been honored by Opera Index, such as Catherine Malfitano and Sherrill Milnes.  Mr. Rudel is currently in rehearsals at Washington National Opera, where he will conduct performances of Bizet's Carmen starring Denyce Graves from November 8 through 19.


About Opera Index

Opera Index, composed of opera devotees, is an outgrowth of The New York Opera Club, which was founded in the late 1950s by William Wells, an opera lover and radio personality well known for his interviews with opera singers of the day.  Opera Index, its name taken from Mr. Wells’s file of opera singers, became a formal non-profit organization in 1982 and two years later inaugurated its first annual opera competition for singers in the early days of their careers.  Among the prize winners of the first competition were Suzanne Mentzer and Gary Lakes.  Later winners have included Deborah Voigt, Susan Graham, Stephanie Blythe, Andrea Gruber, Michelle DeYoung, Elizabeth Futral, and Christine Goerke.  Last year tenor Michael Fabiano was awarded the top prize of $10,000. The first recipient of the Opera Index Distinguished Achievement Award was Zinka Milanov. Subsequent honorees have included Birgit Nilsson, Leonie Rysanek, Marilyn Horne, Roberta Peters, Samuel Ramey, Anna Moffo, Grace Bumbry, Rose Bampton, Theodor Uppman, Renato Scotto, Martina Arroyo, Regina Resnik, Jon Vickers, Sherrill Milnes, James Morris, Catherine Malfitano, Jessye Norman, and Aprile Millo. 

            For more information and a complete list of competition award recipients, visit






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