Opera + Classical Music Features

Spotlight: Wigmore Hall Live wins Gramophone ‘Label of the Year’ award

Launched as recently as 2005, the Wigmore’s own label has risen above strong competition from much longer established studio labels, to win this much coveted award. Its unique selling point is of course the nature of the hall itself, with its warm, spacious acoustic, attracting the finest musicians; to this you can add creative programming and careful selection of the concerts chosen for the recordings, tasteful presentation and excellent, genuinely informative booklet notes.

Any recommendations are bound to be personal choices from the riches on offer, but just to give a taste, you could start with the classic combination of Peter Schreier and András Schiff in a wonderful Schubert programme including Schwanengesang (WHLIVE 0006) or perhaps Lorraine Hunt Lieberson’s unique performances of Handel and Mahler, with Roger Vignoles (0013). More recent delights include a Wolf recital by Wolfgang Holzmair and Imogen Cooper (0029) and a performance of Winterreise by Christopher Maltman and Graham Johnson (0046).

Gramophone’s other winners were perhaps less unusual, with Dame Janet Baker taking the ‘Lifetime Achievement’ award, and the gong for best Recital going to the ubiquitous Jonas Kaufmann for his no-holds-barred Verismo arias – deserved, of course, just for the mesa di voce and the top B in the second Andrea Chènier aria.

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Spotlight: Wigmore Hall Live wins Gramophone ‘Label of the Year’ award