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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 May, 2003, 11:40 GMT 12:40 UK
Brits aim for classical credibility
Bond are nominated and will perform at the ceremony
Some of the biggest names in classical music, including Russell Watson, Andrea Bocelli and Sir Simon Rattle, are in the running for prizes at the Classical Brit Awards on Thursday.

It is the most high-profile classical ceremony in the UK - but will attempt to shake off the "dumbing down" accusation that came after last year's glitzy show.

Tenor Russell Watson could win best album for the third year in a row, while Bond, Bocelli and Bryn Terfel will all perform at the Royal Albert Hall ceremony.

The awards came under fire in 2002 for being too 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.

Bryn Terfel and Cecilia Bartoli
Bryn Terfel and Cecilia Bartoli will both appear on stage
"We wanted to redress the balance a little bit this year, to avoid straying into variety show territory."

This year, female crossover quartet Bond - who have drawn criticism from classical purists - are nominated for best album despite being too pop for the classical charts.

The other nine nominees include Watson, OperaBabes, Lesley Garrett and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

Italian mezzo-soprano Cecilia Bartoli - named best female in 2002 - will receive a special honour for her outstanding contribution to music.

This year's best female nominees are 15-year-old violin sensation Chloe Hanslip, Czech soprano Magdalena Kozena and Grammy-winning Renee Fleming.

On the male shortlist are Bocelli, who got an outstanding contribution award last year, composer Sir Simon and the London Symphony Orchestra's Sir Colin Davis.

Critics' choice

Music from The Lord of the Rings, Star Wars and Harry Potter is nominated in the contemporary music category.

The critics' award - voted for by national reviewers - is between Murray Perahia, Musica Antiqua Koln and Sir Simon's Berliner Philharmoniker.

Former singing busker Hayley Westenra, 16, will become the first person to play at the Classical Brits without a UK release to her name.

Aled Jones, Dominic Miller and Maxim Venegerov will be among the other performers.

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

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
Opera star's anger at 'dumbing down'
29 Apr 02  |  Entertainment
Head to head: Selling classical music
23 May 02  |  Entertainment


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