Olivier nominations 2015 x2!

–> Update, because i want to keep Yael Farber’s generous and thoughtful words with the news of the nomination so i can always go back to this post and remember the wonderful feeling of the day 🙂

What a day! Congratulations first of all to all the nominees!! Well done and it is a great achievement 🙂 Details of all nominations on the Oliviers page. I’ve tried not to think too much about awards as i’m not really objective in my opinions and i tend to care too much if people/stuff i like are in them and care too little if they are not (yes, sour grapes and all that 😉 ). But, i live in London and see a lot of plays and operas so on some level i always get involved, i hear about things, read reviews, have my own opinions. Less so with the BAFTAs, but even there i certainly care more about the BAFTAs than i do about the Oscars these days. Mainly because they are closer to my areas of interest and work.  The Oliviers are, as much as i understand, among the many local awards probably the most respected and coveted. Probably also because shows that tend to get generally really good reviews will be recognised at the awards, so there is a feeling of consistency. I was certainly interested this year as i’d seen more shows than usual; we’d discussed some predictions with friends, many of which were fulfilled. Some things i secretly wished would happen, but didn’t really dare to hope.. And then while being harassed from one meeting to the next on a truly horrible Monday the announcements hit and my cultural universes collided in the most amazing way! My two favourite artists in the whole wide world BOTH got nominated for an Olivier!!! Richard Armitage really, actually, wonderfully got nominated for his John Proctor in the Old Vic Crucible and… the one and only 😉 Jonas Kaufmann got his second nomination to an Olivier for Grieux in Puccini’s Manon Lescaut & Andrea Chenier/ Giordano, both for the Royal Opera House!! I never though i’d actually get an event where my opera and theatre interests would merge, or get to write a post where they would end up sitting naturally next to each other 🙂 I’ve always meant to ‘introduce’ them to each other around here but never found the time for a proper post and now reality has taken me by surprise! 🙂 Wonderfully so! I’m very pleased. Some things i understand much better, like the opera scene –> for one, it is much smaller than the theatre scene and i just have many more years of experience (i’ve guessed and actually agree with 90% of the nominations there – doesn’t make me any less happy to see it confirmed!). I am glad Richard Jones also gets some recognition, good opera directors like him are very few and far between and we need to really celebrate them. Especially considering the amount of tosh i’ve seen lately even at big international houses like the ROH. I can’t even begin to say how many times i have sat in a theatre recently and wished the opera directors were half as good as the theatre directors of the pieces if was seeing. And a lot of the plays were in modern settings, but none dipped into the pretentious, self-indulgent, navel-gazing concepts that i am frankly sick of seeing on the opera stage!  Having said that, all opera production nominated deserve their praise, they were good ones and we need more of these! As for Jonas himself, well in a way it is long overdue really, i think he actually deserved it back in 2007 when he was Don Jose in Carmen at the ROH, which was certainly some of the best singing in this role i ever heard and without a doubt the best acting of it on an opera stage 🙂 Not that Chenier wasn’t amazing, it certainly was some of the best singing at the ROH in years 🙂 But the Oliviers are very ‘London’ and West- end. Weirdly it can take some time even for an international star to become a household name in London, an integral part of its artistic live. And i think Jonas truly become part of ‘London artistic life’ over the last 12 months when he’s spend more time than ever here, did two new productions very successfully, was present at all kinds of artistic events around town, sang to the locals and subscribers at the Wigmore, stepped outside the boundaries of classical music listeners on BBC Radio3 and really connected with the general public, he even got invited to Desert Island Discs! (as a friend of mine put it, it’s a sign you have ‘arrived’ in London if you are on DID!). It seems he finally has and i wouldn’t actually be surprised if he won it this time round. And he better put his tux on and come to London and be there if it happens! 🙂 I know his shelves are heaving with awards but this is the Oliviers! And hey, the Olivier ceremony happens at the Royal Opera House, it’d be just like coming to his second home 😉 and here he is, the Chenier’s last poem before the execution (it’s a cheeky filming one so that is why it is wobbly, but you’ll get the idea i think 🙂 ) and here is a euronews video clip about the opera, unfortunately i can find it in many languages, but not English, this is the German version In terms of theatre there is much more variety and there are trends that can go in opposite directions. People tend to say theatre in London is more traditional, but actually it is ‘story driven’ and good story telling is paramount. Because  of that there is maybe less appetite to ‘go crazy’ with concepts on stage which is why i think critics tend to push and favour innovation. So the directors who will manage to be innovative and modern but also tell a story well will certainly be featured significantly at awards. Acting is generally of a very high standard and there are significant amounts of new plays being written and staged. It’s probably the most competitive theatrical environment in the world and at the same time it is big business. There is old and well established acting tradition, but there is also ‘establishment’ and a constant tension with trying to be innovative, fresh, open and particularly on the talent side that is an uphill battle. There may be a slight whiff of snobbism towards actors with a TV background rather than a classical theatre path but that is easily overridden by the quality of performance and because the public tend to be experienced and knowledgeable, they are also demanding and it’s often the case that the very good plays and performances will result in extended runs. This year’s nominations are a refection of all these kinds of sometimes conflicting trends. Check out the play with by far the biggest numbers of nominations and you’ll see the push for innovation and change 🙂 And the wide spread of awards among plays is surely an attempt to give recognition to many outstanding performances and plays during last year. (By the way Olivier nominations seem to run from the last one to the nomination day as some things i thought were highlights of last year were actually nominated in 2014 and some things nominated in 2015 i haven’t seen yet and the run is ongoing). I am very very happy that the Oliviers finally gave recognition to the Crucible! I think they wanted to send  clear message considering what has happened at other awards in town. It’s certainly quite extraordinary how they chose to message their appreciation of the play, they decided to single out only 1 individual! Which i think is quite extraordinary in itself! “An imposing Richard Armitage starred in internationally acclaimed director Yaël Farber’s chillingly atmospheric, exhilarating take on Arthur Miller’s classic American drama.” Although they give credit to Yael for the production, she’s actually not individually nominated under directors. I do think that is a pity as i think she was a significant catalyst in the final product. But they singles out one extraordinary performance: “Richard Armitage provided a colossal presence at the heart of The Crucible, playing a prowling John Proctor, whose very being balanced on a knife edge.” Considering how often Richard has stressed that for him this was an ensemble work i wonder how this sits with him, i don’t think he fully agrees with them 🙂  But however he may feel about being singled out like this, it still is our right as well as the Olivier’s choosers to point the finger at him and say: ‘accept it or not, we feel you were outstanding and special’ (deal with it!):-) Let’s remember what Richard thought of John Proctor (DT interview for the cinema) – and the look in his eyes pretty much tells the story of how much Proctor meant to him 🙂 And here are some more insights from a recent interview in Theatermania. (try that kind of schedule, opera singers of the world 😉 …just kidding!) I don’t know why they chose the way they did, but i fully agree about the extraordinary and unique quality of his individual performance. And i agree from the perspective of having seen quite a few of the nominees of 2014 as well as 2015. For me the Crucible means more than the other nominees, but that’s also because the play itself is closer to my heart as a story in itself. Although many of the others fascinated and interested me and even touched me, this one reached deepest. I don’t know who will win, i can sort of make an educated guess, which wouldn’t surprise me. But of course a little sparkle of hope is always there, who knows 🙂 I am just pleased that the acting community has given him a big thumbs up for his talent and exceptional work. Come back and do more, Richard! There are other nominations i’m also very happy about, here is just one of many: Wheeldon’s ballet interpretation of Shakespeare’s famous Winter’s Tale was one of my dance highlights from last year. A classical, full length narrative ballet is a rarity these days and everything about this was fantastic, from the original music to the brilliant choreography and dancing. It was the RB at its very very best!  But, there are also some unforgivable omissions, one of which is really huge and i am very sure i will not be the only one asking why??? Helen McCrory’s breathtaking, shattering Medea at NT is missing from the best actress nominations. I’ve seen 3 Greek plays in the past year and this was by far the best production and the best performance (much much more powerful in my opinion than the Electra at the Old Vic… ‘establishment’). I also find it rather sad that Adrian Schiller’s Hale isn’t on the supporting actors nominations; there are many ensemble members of the Crucible worthy of recognition but in comparison to other performances nominated in the category i thought his was much more powerful, human and convincing. I also thought the lighting for the Crucible was by far the best i’ve seen … sadly i think these details have fallen victim to the perceived ‘traditional’ nature of the production and the general desire to recognise innovation… But, there is more recognition than i was expecting and i am very happy about that. I’m less happy that fate has given me this gift and at the same time delivered a strong blow to my backside…. So, given my two boys will be celebrated in London in April you’d think i’d be there to say a Bravo and celebrate as well, but no.. the ceremony happens on a day i’m actually not even in the UK and i won’t even be able to watch it.  It’s a downer of incredible proportions as the likelihood of both of them being at the same event ever again is a big fat zero… The one thing that would maybe compensate me for not being able to be in London for this is both of them winning it! Now i wonder what are the chances of that? 🙂 Crossing fingers… and toes…

31 thoughts on “Olivier nominations 2015 x2!

    • yeah i was split personality all day, one moment nearly jumping round and the other depressed… and considering how well i know the place as well i simply haven’t wrapped my head around the fact that i won’t be there.. sigh… but i am deliriously happy! For Rich more than for JK as the other as said has piles of awards 🙂 Richard’s nomination being the first is really really special 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • me tooo!!! really really happy! i really hope he is too, but i’m just happy for myself that people publicly recognised how wonderful he was in it and is as an actor 🙂 Honestly should he win i’ll need to take the day off or something, i won’t be walking on firm ground for at least a weak!


  1. Could this man, this actor be anymore endearing ? I consider myself blessed to be able to watch him in the roles he undertakes..Best of luck to you Mr. Armitage..I eagerly await the 17th of March to be able to download The Crucible and see what every one has been talking about..God Bless

    Liked by 1 person

    • well, i hope he doesn’t become more endearing than he already is, i’d like to go back to my solid form from time to time rather than living as a constant puddle 😉


  2. Wie schön, daß deine beiden Herzbuben dabei sind. Wie praktisch, wenn man stereo unterwegs ist: einen für rechts und einen für links. 🙂
    Aber besteht denn zu befürchten, daß unser OdB von MS bzw. JMA ausgebremst wird?


      • na ja als Aussenseiter wurde ich ihn nicht unbedingt nennen 🙂 Das Message ist eigentlich ziemlich klar, ohne ihn hatte man das Werk wohl an sich auch nicht nominiert, was eine interessante Ansicht ist. a beide gesehen wurde ich sagen Crucible ohne Rich war trzotdem interessant gewesen aber View from the bridge ohne Strong ware nicht mal ein Deut so gut wie es ist. Ach Vergleiche sind scheusslich! Fur mich ist einfach John Proctor die bei Weitem interessanteste Rolle aus allen und auch die schwierigste zuninterpretieren, das sollte was zu sagen haben, Aussenseiter oder nicht. So gesehen, sich der Rolle so zu stellen und sie so zu bewaltigen ist ganz aussergwohnlich (und ich glaube dass wurde auch klar erkannt) (ist zb glaube ich der Grund wieso zB Redmayne und nicht Cumberbatch den Oscar gewonnen hat, obwohl sie es sicher beide verdient hatten)

        Liked by 1 person

    • ich denke MS ist Favorit ehrlich gesagt. Einfach sehr bekannt usw und die ganze Produktion hatte tolle Presse. Bin gespannt was ihr denkt nachdem ihr es im Kino sieht 🙂 Ich fand ihn ausgezeichnet, fallt mir schwer zu vergleichen und es war unfair ihn zu kritisieren, weil er eben wirklich sehr gut ist. Objektiv gesehen ist aber die Rolle nicht so schwer wie Proctor, muss man auch sagen.
      Announcement video ist jetzt online https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IiiVQ3ZBsMc

      Lustig wie McAvoy versucht ernst zu bleiben und sich nicht offentlich zu freuen 😉 Fand es aber sehr schade dass offensichtlich keiner vom Old Vic da war um sich uber die 2 Nominierungen zu freuen..

      Liked by 1 person

    • praktisch? wohl eher das Gegenteil, alles verdoppelt! na ja, alles nicht 😉 Gut dass eins schon mehr als 7 Jahre als ist und das geht mitlerweile wie Atmen 😉 Teil des Alltags 🙂 Und Gott sei Dank tritt der andere nicht 60x im Jahr auf, wurde ich nicht durchhalten! Und meine Kreditakrte ist auch nicht gerade glucklich uber die Zweisamkeit :-p

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you so much for this great post and your personal insight Hari!
    I am soooo happy for RA too. This nomination is a great achievement wether he’ll win or not


    • oh i just had to gush about both for a bit and why not do it publicly? ;-))) As said this may be my once in a lifetime opportunity :-p
      And yes the nominations is amazing and the way it was done as well, the actual wording of both the play and his individual nomination give him credit, it is not just a pat on the back, it is a big hug as well and a respectful shake of hand 🙂

      The other one is spoiled with awards and praise 😉 One more won’t phase him though i am sure he is really happy as well, because he takes it as the public enjoying what he does as much as himself 🙂

      Ok, i love the idea of the two of them meeting, i think they could have more in common than might be apparent 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks for this great, informative post. I didn’t know anything about Jonas Kauffman, but wow! He is “fan worthy”–what a stunning voice, with looks to match. The only negative is that you won’t be there, but just think how thrilled you will be if they both win!


    • LOL glad to know i’ve introduced somebody new to Jonas 🙂 Yes, he is one of a kind or as the speciality press said one in a century and such and it is not exaggerated. Honestly the first time i heard him back in 2007 i knew i was hearing something and feeling like the people must have felt when they heard and saw Callas. That is the kind of artistry we are talking about 🙂 You know the Pavarotti, Domingo league 🙂 In terms of Jonas for me this is important because i’ve always selfishly wanted him to really ‘get’ London and sing here often 😀 London has been crucial in his career, he always talks about the Met, but the 2 roles which first made him unique and internationally recognised as the best there has ever been in these roles are Don Jose in Carmen and Cavaradossi in Tosca.. and both he was given in London when nobody else would have taken those bets 🙂 I think it has taken a looong time for the relation with London to become special, especially the relationship with the public. He’s finally no longer an amazing stranger but a ‘friend’, not a ‘guest’ but part of the household 🙂 And i will stop there 😀

      As for the other the professional respect this has granted him publicly is invaluable! I can’t stop reading the words again and again and smile 🙂
      And even the stupid fact of not being able to be here for it can’t make me any less happy tbh.
      Should they both win i’ll live in a pink cloud for a really really long time!

      But i am happy enough as it is ..and i’ll shut up now 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah, I turned on the clip and was immediately struck by the power and richness of his voice, even on my computer speakers. I am not that well acquainted with opera, but I know some of the older tenors like Jussi Björling. To me he sounds like an Angel. Jonas is more like a Devil, but I mean it in a complimentary way 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • you are spot on! ‘special K’ is devilish in many ways! 😀 It is what i like about his worth, the dark earthy character (as i’m usually a baritone/bass kind of girl not an angelic tenor kind of 😉 ) It has been an uphill battle to get recognition with this voice and it is a bit like Marmite 🙂 Some hate it but many many more love it. It’s beautiful live and you really can feel the vibrations as it expands. The fascinating thing is this very raw sounding, sensual instrument comes with the most exquisite technique, control and elegant delivery 🙂


          • Wow! I am not that knowledgeable about music, but even I had the immediate impression that he was a baritone. Then I looked him up and it said “tenor.” Your description of listening to him live is quite vivid 🙂 I can definitely see the appeal.

            Liked by 1 person

            • yes i thankfully (sic!) condensed 8 years of adoration into those few words 🙂 and yes definitely a tenor with those high notes :-). Now that he seems to have done well with the non-operatic audience i may drop one or two posts about him along the way too 😉

              Liked by 1 person

  5. Jonas Kaufmann war mir auch schon aufgefallen und ich musste direkt an Dich denken 🙂 Das könnte ja ein vergnüglicher Abend für Dich werden, ich gehe davon aus, Du hörst wenigstens Radio? Sonst schicken wir Dir eine sms, wenn es nicht anderst geht, wenn wir wissen wer gewonnen hat. Und das zu Zeiten wo es fast überall WLAN gibt!
    Manchmal gewinnen auch Außenseiter, nicht oft aber manchmal, vielleicht wenn plötzlich ganz viele gute Wünsche ins Nirwana geschickt werden?……
    Ist das nicht ein Preis, der durch das Votum der Zuschauer bestimmt wird? Oder habe ich da was falsch gelesen, falsch verstanden?
    Erst kürzlich habe ich bei einem Link auch für irgendwas mitgevoted, weiß aber nicht mehr was ;-(
    Und nachdem ich jetzt auch Imitation game gesehen habe würde ich sagen, ja Eddie hatte ihn einen Hauch mehr verdient, auch wenn BC großartig war! BC wird seinen Oscar mit 100%iger Sicherheit noch bekommen irgendwann 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • ja alle haben das selbe gesagt, Batchy kommt schon noch ran, denke ich auch 🙂

      Und ne, es ist Ostern zu Hause, weshlab ich auch weg bin und dann werden meine Eltern es uberhaupt nicht lustig finden wenn ich mich in meinem laptop verkrieche und auf twitter zu sein, sehr wahrscheinlich haben wir Besuch oder gucken Fern oder so, ich werde dann wenn alle zu Bett sind ins Internet gehen und schauen was geworden ist,frustrierend… aber andererseits wird es mich bisschen traurig machen wenn RA nicht gewinnt also auf die Nachricht kann ich dann auch etwas langer warten 😉 Kann man nicht andern seufz… Muss nur zusehen dass ich es aufnehme und Daumen drucken dass de Aufnahme passt damit ich es mir dann ansehen kann! Leider nicht BBC sondern ITV (massenweise Reklame, also auf alle Falle nehme ich es auf damit ich da spulen kann ;-))


  6. You should ask Jonas a commission, I admit that I had not the slightest idea who he was until I read his name in your tweets and blog. 🙂 Finally today after reading your post I’ve selected him in Spotify and I’ve heard a compilation of arias and lieder. I’m so ignorant that I don’t know what makes the difference between a tenor and a baritone, I just can say that I find his voice peculiar, it has a “Callaesque” 😉 warmth. He not only sings but interpretates also, I have been moved hearing his Boheme’s “che gelida manina” and Traviata’s “lungi da lei”, very touching.

    I thought that I could never imagine “E lucevan le stelle” sang by any other singer than Domingo, now my fellow countryman is accompanied by Kaufmann. 🙂

    Regarding the Oliviers, I was so convinced that Richard Armitage would get a nomination that to me it was a fact. I’m not sure if he will win, but a nomination is already a big reward. Big disappointment also for Adrian Schiler un-nomination, I was really blown away by his interpretation when I’ve seen TC in cinema.


    • Maybe i will ask Jonas for a commission next time he’s in London 😉 Tickets for the operas and concerts he sings will therefore only be in even higher impossible demand 😀 LOL
      No, i’m actually glad more people get to hear him, i’ve always wished i could go back in time and hear some of the singers i’ve only heard on Cds. So yes, to anyone who has the chance to see him anywhere near where they live, go, go go!
      There are also quite a few DVDs, i’d recommend starting with the 2007 ROH Carmen and the later ROH Tosca ah and the Paris Werther is must! It’s on stage where one gets the best of him 🙂 And the rest of the cast in all 3 cases are brilliant too and great actors so really fun to watch.
      And he’s usually in the ROH and Met live cinema broadcasts , always worth catching, i’ll remind myself to point people to them in case they fancy an afternoon of opera 🙂

      Yes, i am disappointed for Schiller as well as i am yet to see a performance in a secondary role as strong as his and i mean that. Same for the ladies, especially Natalie Gavin and Anna Madeley. Real shame.
      As to leading men, London is an incredibly tough place at the moment. I am incredibly happy about the nomination! As said he’s gotta come back and do more 🙂 But award aside i think it is a really big deal that respect and recognition came for his first big role on stage in London. And the journey we’ve been on with the Crucible has been special and that will stay so, regardless of any awards 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      • The screening of ROH Andrea Chenier was available in some cinemas, even in one half the way between Tivoli (where I live) and Rome, but they’re only in Wednesdays or Thursdays. I’d have to take the day after off as I wake up very early in the morning and I already did with The Crucible! There’re so many interesting screenings, even Medea with Helen McCrory, and many ROH productions, La Boheme is a big temptation but it’s screened on June 17th… Wednesday 😦


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