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Last Updated: Friday, 23 May, 2003, 09:39 GMT 10:39 UK
Bocelli tops Classical Brits
Andrea Bocelli
Bocelli won best album
Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli stopped local star Russell Watson from winning best album for the third year in a row at the Classical Brit Awards on Thursday.

The Italian singer won best album for his most recent release, Sentimento.

Russell Watson had won the best album award for the last two years, and was nominated again this year.

Bocelli, who is blind, also won biggest-selling classical album of the year for Sentimento.

The Italian tenor has sold over 50 million records in his career, and has been the biggest-selling classical artist in the world for the last six years. He has also been nominated for two Grammy awards.

Another double winner on Thursday night was Berlin Philharmonic conductor Sir Simon Rattle, He won male artist of the year and his performance of Gustav Mahler's Symphony No 5 was named best orchestral album.

US soprano Renée Fleming was the top-selling female artist at the award.

Classical group Bond
Bond are too pop to be considered for classical charts

And mezzo-soprano Cecilia Bartoli was recognised in the outstanding contribution to classical music category.

Pop-classical group Bond performed at the ceremony in London's Royal Albert Hall, as did Bocelli and Welsh opera star Bryn Terfel.

Bond - who have drawn criticism from classical purists - had been nominated for best album despite being too pop for the classical charts.

Watson criticism

The awards had come under fire in last year for being over-influenced by pop and rock concerts, with performances from the OperaBabes and The Planets.

"I think we took one or two steps too many from our classical roots," Classical Brits chairman Rob Dickins recently told Music Week magazine.

Last year Watson also drew criticism because he sang at the awards with a group of scantily-clad dancers.

The critics' award - voted for by national reviewers - was won by Murray Perahia for Chopin/Etudes Opus 10, Opus 25.

The ceremony will be presented by ITV newsreader Katie Derham and shown on ITV1 on 1 June.




SEE ALSO:
Brits aim for classical credibility
22 May 03  |  Entertainment
Classical Brits 2003: The nominations
22 May 03  |  Entertainment
Bond up for Classical Brit
15 Apr 03  |  Entertainment
Salford singer wins again
23 May 02  |  Entertainment
Singer condemns classical 'hijackers'
09 May 02  |  Entertainment
Head to head: Selling classical music
23 May 02  |  Entertainment


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