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Saturday, 20 October, 2001, 00:09 GMT 01:09 UK
Bartoli wins classical artist of the year
Bartoli is famed globally for her voice
The mezzo-soprano received her award from actor Simon Callow
Opera singer Cecilia Bartoli has been named artist of the year at the 25th Gramophone Awards - regarded as the "Oscars" of the classical industry.

The globally famous Italian mezzo-soprano, 35, who is highly regarded for her vocal range and powerful stage presence, received her award from fellow musician Elvis Costello.

She hit another career high on Monday with her debut at the Royal Opera House, but unfortunately some of the audience booed the performance - because they did not like the set.

The awards, which were hosted by actor and writer Simon Callow at London's Barbican, champion the best recordings in a range of spheres from orchestral to opera.

Simon Callow
Simon Callow: Hosting the show at London's Barbican

Other celebrities giving awards included actor Richard Wilson, composer Sir Tim Rice and presenters Angus Deayton and Oz Clarke.

Spanish opera star Victoria de los Angeles won the lifetime achievement prize, while the London Symphony Orchestra's recording of Vaughan Williams's A London Symphony was named record of the year.

The instrumental prize was won by Murray Perahia for Bach Goldberg Variations, and the editor's choice was won by Christopher Hogwood for Handel Rinaldo.

Antonio Pappano was awarded the opera prize for Massenet Manon, while Magdalena Kozena and Graham Johnson won the vocal prize for Love Songs.

And the retailer of the year was awarded to Bath CDs, and the Belcea quartet won the debut recording.

Some of the most recognised names in classical music have been among past winners including Sir Georg Solti, Dame Kiri te Kanawa and Angela Gheorghiu.

Dame Kiri te Kanawa
Dame Kiri te Kanawa is a previous winner
Previous winners of the artist of the year category also include Sir Simon Rattle, who at just 46, was named as chief conductor and artistic adviser for the prestigious Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra in August.

Last year's artist of the year was conductor Antonio Pappano, currently music director of La Monnaie opera house in Brussels, and there was also a special lifetime achievement award to the composer Wagner.

During the last four months critics from Gramophone magazine have had the task of listening to the hundreds of CDs released in the 12 months up to 31 May.

'Downmarket'

The shortlists cover both industry giants and a number of smaller independent labels.

These include Naxos, Chandos, Hyperion, Harmonia Mundi and Glossa.

For the past two years a rival competition, the Classical Brit Awards, has also honoured classical excellence.

But it has included entries from all-female quartet Bond and Madonna's producer William Orbit, leading to the Classical Brits being accused of taking the music downmarket.

However the Classical Brit organisers said they help bring classical music to a wider audience.

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Cecilia Bartoli
"It's a really big honour"
See also:

11 Jan 01 | Entertainment
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13 Aug 01 | Film
Proms go to the movies
26 Apr 01 | Music
Countryside theme for Proms
18 Apr 01 | Music
Bond quartet hit US high note
06 May 00 | Entertainment
Church wins Classical Brit award
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