Posts Tagged ‘Birgit Nilsson Prize’

Do the noble thing, Riccardo

Thursday, March 17th, 2011

by Keith Clarke

As music awards go, you can’t get much more glitzy than the $1m Birgit Nilsson Prize that Riccardo Muti has just picked up. Well, he doesn’t actually pick it up until October, at a ceremony in the Stockholm Royal Opera in the presence of H.M. King Carl XVI Gustaf and H.M. Queen Silvia, which gives everyone time to polish up their tiaras and have the tux dry cleaned. It is only the second time the award has been made, Placido Domingo being the only previous recipient of the legendary Swedish soprano’s bequest.

Not many would argue that Muti is worthy of the award, which was set up to honor an individual working in opera or classical music. But isn’t there something faintly obscene in giving a million bucks to a man who is not short of a cent and has made his fortune by waving a stick at impoverished musicians?  I’m sure the story we’re looking forward to seeing at the front end of this site is when Muti magnanimously declares that he is donating his win to musical charities.


It was a nice piece of timing, Northern Ireland’s arts organizations learning of a reprieve on funding cuts on the eve of St Patrick’s Day. Their colleagues in England are probably wishing for similarly saintly help, but the calendar is against them. England’s patron saint, St George, has his day on 23 April. Arts Council England is declaring its bloody hand a full 24 days earlier, on 30 March.