Opera house wins top award

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The Independent Online
THE ROYAL Opera House won a prestigious classical music award last night for its 'exceptionally high level of performance' last year.

Productions at Covent Garden particularly commended in the Royal Philharmonic Society's awards included Der fliegender Hollander and Death in Venice.

Julia Varady, who portrays an 'intense' Senta in Der fliegender Hollander, won the singing category, while the conductor's award went to Sir Edward Downes.

The Duchess of Kent handed out 12 awards, including one for best large ensemble to the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, at the annual event, which was held at the Dorchester Hotel, London. The author award went to Humphrey Carpenter for Benjamin Britten: a biography. Bob Lockyer, executive producer of the BBC television production of Northern Ballet Theatre's Romeo And Juliet, won the radio, television or video category.

Other awards were: best chamber ensemble, the Arditti String Quartet; best large-scale composition, Magnus Lindberg for Joy; best chamber-scale composition, Oliver Knussen for Songs without Words; best instrumentalist, Steven Isserlis; and best concert series, Manchester International Festival of Expressionism.

Sarah Chang, a violinist from Korea, won the debut award.