The Melbourne Ring came out top of the poll at the 18th annual Helpmann Awards held at the Capitol Theatre in Sydney last night. The epic production of Wagner’s tetralogy carried off a total of six Helpmanns including Best Opera, Neil Armfield as Best Director, Pietari Inkinen for Musical Direction, Norwegian bass-baritone Terje Stensvold (the production’s Wotan) as Best Male Performer and Jacqueline Dark and Warwick Fyfe (Fricka and Alberich respectively) as Best Supporting Actors.

Chief Conductor of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra David Robertson will be pleased this morning as American soprano Christine Goerke won the Best Female Performer for her outstanding Elektra in a series of staged concert performances by the SSO.

Classical music performances, in the usual muddled and inadequate range of categories, saw Jordi Savall’s Jerusalem Project at Sydney Opera House and Melbourne Recital Centre win a well-deserved award as well as the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra for their 2013 Australian tour. Russian coloratura soprano Julia Lezhneva won for Best Individual Classical Performance for her concert as part of Hobart Baroque.

The night’s theatrical awards were dominated by Sydney Theatre Company in an excellent year across a range of productions. Cate Blanchett won a Best Actor award for her role...