English National Opera and the Royal Opera battle it out for the opera categories in this year’s Olivier Awards. It may look as though the odds are in the RO’s favour, with three nominations to the ENO’s one for Best Production but with David Alden’s Peter Grimes (which has just won a South Bank Show award) the latter, the Coliseum-based company may just take it.

There will be some controversy over the nominations (who was ever able to please all the operagoers all the time?). Two productions by Christof Loy are up for the award, much to the surprise and disgust of some, I’m sure. Loy’s Tristan und Isolde was much-debated over and his Lulu was hated by many, even among those who loved the Wagner.

The fourth nominee is set to surprise, as Tim Albery’s Der fliegende Höllander at Covent Garden neither wowed nor appalled but was a fairly inoffensive and unexciting account of Wagner’s early opera.

One of the stars of that production, German soprano Anja Kampe, is nominated for the Outstanding Achievement in Opera award. She’ll be lucky to pluck it away from Nina Stemme, whose performance as Isolde was rated as near-definitive even by people who hated the production. Her colleague Michael Volle is up for the same award for his Kurwenal (as well as his work in Lulu) and the final nominee is Stuart Skelton for his phenomenal Peter Grimes.

The awards ceremony will take place on Sunday 21 March at the Grosvenor House Hotel, London. My tip for the opera awards are Peter Grimes, narrowly pipping Tristan und Isolde at the post, and Stemme just snatching it away from Skelton. But with past years throwing up some pretty surprising results, I won’t be putting any money on it.