Swapping ‘Classical’ for ‘Classic’, the Brits have (half) dropped the pretence of classical respectability this year for a ceremony which, conversely, featured fewer of the warbling cross-over horrors that have made past shows so car crashingly unmissable. The twelfth annual Classic Brit awards actually took place on May 12th, but lucky TV audiences had to wait the customary few weeks to see it. The event was again hosted by no one’s favourite pianist, Mylene Klass, heavily plugging her show Pop Star to Opera Star, and featured a fairly bland solo from new PSTOS judge Katherine Jenkins.
What jars most about this event, though, is the inexplicable disparity between the award winners. As though stuck in a split personality spiral, the Brits hand out gongs alternately to proper classical musicians and embarrassing opera-lite types such as Il Divo, here named ‘Artist of the Decade’. That’s ten years of music, and the best they could come up with was Il Divo. And this is the same show that managed to lure the famously reclusive Estonian composer Arvo Pärt with a ‘Composer of the Year’ award, featured (what they said was) Anne-Sophie Mutter’s first appearance of her anniversary tour and handed an award to rising violin star Vilde Frang.
Unfortunately, we don’t get many Oscars style reaction shots from the famous faces in the audience, so we’ll never know if Antonio Pappano (winner of ‘Male Artist of the Year’) kept it together through Il Divo’s staggering rewrite of Barber’s Adagio for strings.