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DECCA SWEEPS THE BOARD AT CLASSIC BRIT AWARDS: Winner in four out of six categories – plus a lifetime achievement honour for Pavarotti
Decca albums were honoured in a night of triumph at the Classic Brit Awards, held last night [2 Oct] at London’s Royal Albert Hall.
Star violinist Nicola Benedetti was named Female Artist of the Year for the second year in succession. Her Decca album The Silver Violin made the pop charts on its release last year and became the first classical release to break the top 30 since Nigel Kennedy's Four Seasons.
Speaking at the glittering awards ceremony she said: “Thank you Dickon Stainer for signing me all those years ago, I've never forgotten it.” She added: “There are centuries of music to discover. If you're watching this, here, or at home, and this is your main exposure to classical music, go and discover the rest – go and discover the symphonies of Beethoven, Sibelius, and Shostakovich!”
Before the award, Benedetti duetted onstage with Lang Lang, giving a fiery performance of Khachaturian 's Sabre Dance. Lang Lang was denied the Male Artist of the Year award by Daniel Barenboim, winning with his Beethoven For All and Elgar and Carter Cello Concertos on Decca with Alisa Weilerstein, who was also present after being nominated as Best Breakthrough Artist.
Two more Decca albums scooped awards, André Rieu’s Magic of the Movies winning the Classic FM Album of the Year – the third time he has won it – and The Critics’ Award going to Jonas Kaufmann for his Wagner album. Ludovico Einaudi also made his performance debut at the awards, performing ‘Experience’ from his latest album In a Time Lapse.
Fifty years after his first recording and television broadcast, legendary tenor Luciano Pavarotti was honoured posthumously with the final award of the night, a Lifetime Achievement award. He had agreed to collect the award in person six years ago, but sadly died before the event. The award was greeted with a standing ovation.
The two remaining singers of the Three Tenors joined forces to honour their friend and colleague. José Carreras interrupted a world tour to attend the ceremony, presenting the award to Pavarotti's widow, Nicoletta Mantovani.
Ms Mantovani said: “It is wonderful that the music industry is honouring Luciano in this way, particularly at a time when we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of his first recording. It is beautiful that the Classic BRIT Awards are helping to keep his memory alive through honouring him in this way.”
Placido Domingo, who is in Los Angeles after recovering from a pulmonary embolism and was unable to attend the ceremony in person, recorded a special tribute video for the event, talking of Pavarotti’s “God-given, beautiful voice”.
Maltese tenor Joseph Calleja, nominated for Breakthrough Artist of the Year, performed “Caruso” as a tribute to Pavarotti at the prestigious awards ceremony, which will be televised on the UK’s ITV1 channel on Sunday [6 Oct].