Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Grammy Report

The 53rd Annual Grammy Awards were quite a weekend: three ceremonies, including the televised extravaganza, plus two huge parties, all in the space of about 30 hours. The sheer number of awards is kind of staggering: there are 109 different categories, including Best NorteƱo Album (what's that?), Best Banda Album, Record of the Year and Album of the Year (huh?), Best Surround Sound Album (are people still doing that?), seven different categories in Gospel music (classical music gets twelve!), plus a separate set of awards for technical and lifetime achievement in various areas.

The Grammys are primarily about celebrity and secondarily about music, and once one accepts that, it's possible to have a great deal of fun watching all the famous people do their thing -- and we did! I even thought some of the pop awards were well deserved: Esperanza Spalding is a fantastic musician, whom we got to hear at the Sunday afternoon awards ceremony in a terrific number with Bobby McFerrin. Not sure what to make of Lady Gaga, but she certainly knows how to make a spectacle of herself -- though I found her leather get-up much more interesting than the big egg. And what a hoot to see Mick Jagger prancing around like he's still in his 30s!

We didn't win but were pleased to see the opera award for "L'amour de loin" be accepted by Daniel Belcher, a former HGO studio artist who is doing wonderful work these days, both in Houston and elsewhere. Sixto put together a slideshow that includes pics of three of the four Ars Lyrica nominees: myself (as conductor), Keith Weber (producer) and Ava Pine (soprano), but without Jamie Barton (mezzo-soprano), who was singing in San Diego that day instead.