The Critics’ Circle today announced their 2019 Music Award Winners.
Conductor Bernard Haitink receives the Lifetime Achievement Award, following a celebration of his 90th birthday and 65 years of conducting in the 2018/19 season.
“It’s often written that conductors get better with age, but Bernard Haitink has always been a rock,” writes the Circle. “You always knew exactly what you were going to get with a Haitink performance: thoroughly rehearsed, scrupulously faithful to the score, with no overblown gestures. And so it was again in 2019. His beat was as firm as ever in an unfussy, glowing Mahler 4 with the London Symphony Orchestra in March to celebrate his 90th birthday, but it was his concert with the Vienna Philharmonic at the BBC Proms that proved unforgettable.”
Soprano Louise Alder is honoured with the Young Talent Award in the Voice category. The Circle relfects that “Louise Alder has already become a favourite with British audiences for her gleaming, expressive soprano, a luminous voice that she colours with outstanding imagination and skill. Recent appearances have seen her sparkle in Strauss (as Sophie in Der Rosenkavalier), Handel and Purcell, and have especially showcased her stylish way with Mozart (as ENO’s Susanna, the Royal Opera’s Zerlina and Garsington’s Pamina). Yet the richness and breadth of her singing on Lines Written During a Sleepless Night, the glorious disc of Russian, Nordic and British song she recorded last year with pianist Joseph Middleton, are evidence of an artist seeking new challenges.”
Deborah Warner wins the Best Production prize for her direction of Billy Budd at the Royal Opera House. The production also featured performances by Duncan Rock, Dominic Sedgwick, Brindley Sherratt, David Soar, Toby Spence, and more.