From Development server
16 March 2011

Riccardo Muti Named as 2011 Recipient of One-Million-Dollar Birgit Nilsson Prize

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Muti, leading the Chicago Symphony Orchestra
© Todd Rosenberg 2011

Maestro Riccardo Muti has been announced as the recipient of the 2011 Birgit Nilsson Prize, president of the Birgit Nilsson Foundation Rutbert Reisch announced today. The award, which is bestowed every two to three years, carries with it a one-million dollar purse, making it the largest monetary prize in classical music. 

Muti — currently music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and, from 1986 through 2005, music director at Milan's Teatro alla Scala — is slated to be presented the Prize on October 13, 2011 in the presence of H.M. King Carl XVI Gustaf and H.M. Queen Silvia at the Royal Opera in Stockholm. The Italian conductor is only the second recipient of the award in the history of Nilsson Foundation, which was founded by the Swedish soprano into the 1980s. In October 2009, the inaugural prize was presented to Plácido Domingo, who had been personally chosen by Nilsson to be its first recipient.

"When I heard that the Birgit Nilsson Foundation had chosen me for this distinguished award, I was deeply touched by the jury's accolade, all the more so given my profound admiration for this unique and extraordinary artist, both as an incomparable musician and as a great interpreter," Muti said in a statement issued today by the foundation. "The presence of Their Majesties The King and Queen of Sweden will make this particular honor even more significant to me."

The Birgit Nilsson Prize seeks to perpetuate Nilsson's legacy by recognizing outstanding achievements by a currently active singer in the fields of opera, concert oratorio or lieder, or a conductor in the fields of opera or concert. Maestro Muti was selected as the recipient of the 2011 prize by a jury that included Seattle Opera general director Speight Jenkins; Rupert Christiansen, opera critic at The Daily Telegraph; Bengt Hall, managing director of the Malmö Opera and former general manager of the Royal Swedish Opera Stockholm; and Eva Wagner-Pasquier, co-director of the Bayreuth Festival. spacer 

More information can be found at www.birgitnilssonprize.org and the OPERA NEWS Archives

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