Awards season – time to cast your vote!

Award season has officially begun with the announcement last week of the finalists for the International Opera Awards and the nominated recordings for BBC Music Magazines’s tenth annual Awards.
International Opera Awards finalists include Edward Gardner (Conductor), Iestyn Davies and Ludovic Tézier (Male Singer) and Joyce DiDonato, who features as a finalist in both the Female Singer and CD (Operatic Recital) categories, the latter for her Stella di Napoli recording. Handel’s Tamerlano featuring John Mark Ainsley is a finalist in the CD (Complete Opera) category. Visit the Opera Awards website for the full list of finalists.
BBC Music Awards nominations:

Turnage – From the Wreckage; Speranza
Håkan Hardenberger (trumpet); London Symphony Orchestra/Daniel Harding (LSO Live)
The awards jury says…
‘Speranza, in four movements and four languages, is a symphonic outburst of optimism for a bleak world. It’s one of Turnage’s most ambitious orchestral canvases, surging with life, passion and power, and it’s hard to conceive of this world premiere recording being bettered, especially in such a fine live recording.’
Watch the trailer.
Bruckner – Symphony No. 9
Lucerne Festival Orchestra/Claudio Abbado (DG)
The awards jury says…
‘It’s hard to forget that the concert recorded here turned out to be Abbado’s last. Yet this is not simply a poignant memorial to the late conductor, but one of the finest Bruckner Nines on disc: the Lucerne Festival Orchestra brings natural feeling, textural clarity and intensity to this unfinished masterpiece.’

Prokofiev – Violin Sonatas
Alina Ibragimova (violin), Steven Osborne (piano) (Hyperion)
The awards jury says…
‘Alina Ibragimova’s probing music intelligence and Steven Osborne’s protean muscularity yield the dream team for a pair of war-time sonatas that couldn’t be more different. From the First Sonata’s confiding whispers to the exuberant panache of the Sonata No. 2’s Finale they take everything in their peerless stride. Revelatory.’

Handel – Tamerlano
Xavier Sabata, Max Emanuel Cencic, John Mark Ainsley, Karina Gauvin, Ruxandra Donose, Pavel Kudinov; Il Pomo D’Oro/Riccardo Minasi (Naïve)
The awards jury says…
‘Xavier Sabata’s Tamerlano is thrillingly “mad, bad and dangerous to know” in this outstanding account of Handel’s 1724 slice of tyrannical life – recorded in its 1731 re-spray. Cast with unassailable strength (including John Mark Ainsley’s noble Bajazet) the set strikes musical gold in the viscerally engaging playing of Il Pomo D’Oro.’

Strauss • Fauré • Debussy
Strauss: Die erwachte Rose; Mädchenblumen Op. 22; other lieder
Christiane Karg (soprano), Malcolm Martineau (piano) (Wigmore Hall Live)
The awards jury says…
‘Recorded live, German soprano Christiane Karg’s July 2012 Wigmore Hall recital was clearly a very special occasion, in which her light-filled voice, musicianship and subtle artistry were demonstrated in a programme ranging widely through the fields of French and German song, superbly accompanied by Malcolm Martineau.’
Stella di Napoli – Arias by Puccini, Bellini, Donizetti, Mercadante, etc
Joyce DiDonato (mezzo-soprano); Orchestre et Choeur de L’Opéra de Lyon/Riccardo Minasi (Erato)
The awards jury says…
‘Joyce DiDonato’s love letter to Neapolitan “bel canto” is all about the voice, and as her own “star” shines brightly, what a voice it proves to be. Vocal pyrotechnics hold no terrors, and her creamy mezzo leaves no nuance unturned. Sensitively accompanied by Riccardo Minasi and his Lyon forces, it’s a case of “hear Naples… and live!”

Elgar – The Dream of Gerontius; Sea Pictures
Sarah Connolly (mezzo-soprano), Stuart Skelton (tenor), David Soar (bass); BBC Symphony Orchestra & Chorus/Sir Andrew Davis (Chandos)
The awards jury says…
‘This recording of Elgar’s oratorio The Dream of Gerontius has all the right ingredients: a superlative trio of soloists, orchestral playing and choral singing of the highest calibre, an expert Elgarian at the helm, and excellent surround sound. It’s an overwhelming performance; Elgar’s comment that Gerontius “is the best of me” has never seemed more apt.’
Visit the BBC Music Awards website to cast you vote.
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