Brits honour Domingo for 40 years of music

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The Independent Culture

Placido Domingo, one of the world's most celebrated tenors, was "truly delighted" to be honoured with a lifetime achievement award last night at the Classical Brits.

The 65-year-old Spaniard, who had a short-lived career as a bullfighter while a teenager, has delighted opera audiences around the world for more than four decades. He opened last night's award ceremony at the Royal Albert Hall with a rendition of "Vurria" before performing a duet with Rolando Villazon.

Domingo has commanded 122 different roles, more than any other tenor in the world, and made over a hundred recordings. He gained popular audiences by appearing in TV shows, opera films by Franco Zeffirelli and recording with pop artists including John Denver, as well as performing with Luciano Pav-arotti and José Carreras in the commercially successful "Three Tenor Concert" in Italy in 1990.

Domingo was also named as joint winner of the Critics Award for Wagner's Tristan and Isolde, along with Antonio Pappano and the Royal Opera House Chorus at last night's ceremony, held by the British Phonographic Industry. There were also perform-ances by Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, as well as the tenors Vittorio Grigolo and Nicky Spence.

Katherine Jenkins, 25, who has followed Charlotte Church to become one of most popular mezzo sopranos, won the Album of the Year for Living A Dream, which was voted for by Classic FM radio listeners and magazine readers. The former teacher from Neath, who signed the largest classical recording deal two years ago, has become the fastest-selling female opera singer since Maria Callas.

Jenkins joined her local choir at the age of seven and won a scholarship to study at the Royal Academy of Music in London. She is the official mascot for the Wales rugby team.

Alison Balsom, the 27-year-old modern trumpeter from Hertfordshire, who performed last night, was named Young British Classical Performer, by a panel of judges from Gramophone magazine.

Dario Marianelli was named winner of the best Soundtrack/Musical Theatre Composer, one of the most coveted titles of the awards, for the film version of Pride and Prejudice, which was performed by Jean-Yves Thibaudet and the English Chamber Orchestra. Andreas Scholl was named Singer of the Year for his interpretation of Handel's Arias for Senesino.

Classical Brits: the winners

* Contemporary music award: James MacMillan - Symphony no 3, Silence

* Singer of the year: Andreas Scholl - Arias for Senesino

* Soundtrack/musical theatre composer award: Dario Marianelli - Pride and Prejudice (performed by Jean-Yves Thibaudet and the English Chamber Orchestra)

* Ensemble/orchestral album of the year: Takacs Quartet - Beethoven, The Late String Quartets

* Critics' award: Royal Opera House Chorus & Orchestra/Domingo/Pappano - Tristan and Isolde

* Young British classical performer: Alison Balsom

* Instrumentalist of the year: Leif Ove Andsnes, Rachmaninov Piano Concertos 1 and 2

* National Savings and Investments album of the year: Katherine Jenkins, Living A Dream

* Lifetime achievement award: Placido Domingo

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