Friday, 12 April 2013

ETO and many more nominated for Royal Philharmonic Society Music Awards

Rupert Charlesworth, Jeffrey Stewart, Callum Thorpe,  Richard Mosley-Evans, Katie Bray, Paula Sides, Robert Winslade Anderson.  English Touring Opera // Bach, Christ lag in Todesbanden.  Photo: Richard Hubert Smith
Rupert Charlesworth, Jeffrey Stewart, Callum Thorpe,
Richard Mosley-Evans, Katie Bray, Paula Sides, Robert Winslade Anderson.
English Touring Opera // Bach, Christ lag in Todesbanden.
Photo: Richard Hubert Smith
The Royal Philharmonic Society Music Awards, presented for outstanding achievement in 2012, announced this year's shortlist yesterday. The winners will be announced at a ceremony on 14 May 2012 at London's Dorchester Hotel with RPS Gold Medallist Dame Janet Baker presenting the winners trophies. This years RPS Music Awards are being presented as part of RPS200 celebrating the society's 200th birthday. The list of nominees reflects the amazing breadth of British musical life last year with nods to the Royal Opera House's Ring Cycle and Trojans, as well as ENO, ETO, Aldeburgh and Birmingham Opera Company. Contemporary opera features quite heavily, as does contemporary music in general. The list is so strong, that you rather feel sorry for the judges having to choose. And we'll have to wait until 14 May to find out.

The Opera and Music Theatre category has a noticeably contemporary edge as the list includes ENO's production of Detlev Glanert's Caligula, Aldeburgh's Oliver Knussen Double Bill, Birmingham Opera Company's staging (the first ever) of Stockhausen's Mittwoch aus Licht and English Touring Opera's enterprising Autumn season touring Britten's Albert Herring, Peter Maxwell Davies' The Lighthouse and Viktor Ullmann's The Emperor of Atlantis. How do you choose between those, but it is great to see ETO's sterling work being recognised alongside other big hitters, the first time the company has been nominated for the Opera and Music Theatre award..

But rather oddly, contemporary opera also features in the Large-Scale Composition category, as Gerald Barry's The Importance of Being Earnest (receiving its British premiere at the Barbican performed by BCMG) is included alongside Harrison Birtwistle's In Broken Images (premiered by the London Sinfonietta) and Julian Anderson's The Discovery of Heaven (written for the London Philharmonic Orchestra).

The Singer Category also includes an impossible decision, how to choose between Alice Coote, Bryan Hymel, Bryn Terfel and Sarah Connolly, all of whom did some very fine work last year including Coote's performances of Die Winterreise, Hymel's Royal Opera House stunning appearances in Berlioz's Les Troyens and Meyerbeer's Robert le Diable, Terfel's tour-de-force of four Ring Cycles and Connolly's amazingly wide range of activities from baroque to contemporary. The young baritone, Duncan Rock, is n the Young Artists category (alongside Daniil Trifonv and the Heath Quartet).

The Ensemble category includes three very fine ensembles, Britten Sinfonia, Ex Cathedra and the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House (nice to see their work being recognised on its own for once). The Audiences and Engagement category includes the Philharmonia's Universe of Sound, Sistema Scotland's The Big Concert and Southampton's Musical Alphabet at Turner Sims concert hall.

The full list of nominees, which includes the BBC Proms and PRS for Music Foundation's 20x12 is available at the RPS Awards website.
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