Verdi’s Aida conducted by Sir Antonio Pappano has won Recording of the Year at the 2016 BBC Music Magazine Awards.
With an all-star cast, including Anja Harteros in the title role and Jonas Kaufmann as Radamès, this superlative Warner Classics recording was made in the studio in Rome with the Orchestra and Chorus of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia – just when the days of large-scale opera studio recordings were believed to be a thing of the past.
It was, says Pappano, a case of ‘right place, right time, right singers, right conductor, right orchestra and chorus, right hall’.
Baritone Ludovic Tézier, who sang Amonasro, accepted the coveted award at a packed ceremony in Kings Place, London, hosted by BBC Music Magazine editor Oliver Condy and BBC Radio 4 broadcaster James Naughtie. He was presented with the Award by former shadow chancellor Ed Balls. Pappano’s recording of Verdi’s Aida also won the Opera Award.
Six other awards voted for by the public from shortlists drawn up by an expert jury of critics were also announced. Sakari Oramo – who was nominated twice in the same category – and the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra won the Orchestral Award for their recording of Nielsen Symphonies Nos 1 & 3.
Violinist Rachel Podger repeated her success from last year’s Awards, this time winning for a dazzling recording of Vivaldi’s L’estro armonico, while Tenebrae took its Choral Award tally up to three – winning for its disc of Brahms and Bruckner motets. The 18-strong choir took to the stage to perform Bruckner’s Christus factus est, and was presented its Award by Dame Mary Archer.
In the Instrumental category, cellist David Watkin took the prize for his disc of JS Bach’s Cello Suites, presented by Sir John Eliot Gardiner. And the Pavel Haas Quartet, a former Newcomer of the Year, also returned to pick up the Chamber Award for their recording of Smetana’s String Quartets Nos 1 & 2.
Following in their footsteps, the Schumann Quartet were named Newcomer of the Year for an immaculately performed disc of Mozart, Ives and Verdi – and they treated the audience to a performance of ‘Arguments’ from Ives’s String Quartet No. 2.
That was one of three jury awards announced: the DVD Award went to Poulenc’s Dialogues des Carmélites in a stylish production from Paris, while Sir James MacMillan won the Premiere Award for his Oboe Concerto.
For interviews with all of the winners, buy a copy of BBC Music Magazine – out now.
Details of all the winning recordings can be found on our Awards website.