13. October 2011 · Comments Off · Categories: Announcements

As a young conductor, Maestro Riccardo Muti would set his alarm at an unbearable hour and take the three-hour train ride between Florence and Rome just to hear Swedish soprano Birgit Nilsson sing.

On Thursday his quest came full circle when he arrived in Stockholm to pick up a $1 million prize established in the late singer’s name, an award that organizers say is one of the largest in the world of classical music.

The 70-year-old Naples native is the second Birgit Nilsson Prize laureate, winning the 2011 award “for his extraordinary contributions in opera and concert, as well as his enormous influence in the music world both on and off the stage.”

He received the award from King Carl XVI Gustaf at a lavish ceremony at the Swedish Royal Opera later Thursday.

“I’m honored and happy,” he told reporters before the ceremony. “It’s important because you realize that maybe you have done something important in your life, and people around the world recognize work that you have done as a musician.”

RTWT

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