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Also very touching was the performance of Thomas Quasthoff, bass-baritone with a mission to overcome stigmatisation and to prove that the impossible is always within the realm of the possible if one only holds on to one's dreams and refuses to be discouraged. On accepting his award as best male singer for his Deutsche Grammophon CD Widmung (DG/Universal 474 501-2), Quasthoff performed Ständchen from Schwanengesang (Swan Song). Anyone who has ever seen this great little man sing in person is likely never to forget his inspiring performance that stands for triumph of artistic beauty over adversity.

Bass-baritone Thomas Quasthoff is overjoyed on accepting his award as best male singer. Photo © 2004 Phil Crebbin
Bass-baritone Thomas Quasthoff is overjoyed on accepting his award as best male singer. Photo © 2004 Phil Crebbin

French conductor Emanuelle Haim came and conquered hearts when she appeared on stage to accept her award for best opera recording seventeenth/eighteenth century for Purcell's Dido and Aeneas (Virgin/EMI 545 604-2). Her beauty and grace are guaranteed to charm anyone and at the reception that followed, the curly-haired French conductor introduced herself to people modestly by stating, French-accented and with a big smile: 'I am Emanuelle!' That sufficed to have the crowds follow her wherever she went and when she goofed around with Rolando Villazon, whose Mexican nature is equally outgoing and crowd-appealing, we knew who the darlings of the evening were.

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Copyright © 30 October 2004 Tess Crebbin, Germany

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