Magdalena Kožená in fray for Grammy awards

Magdalena Kožená, photo: Czech Television

The world-renowned Czech mezzo soprano Magdalena Kožená has been nominated for this year’s Grammy Awards, along with such stars as Beyonce or Rihanna. Kožená received the nomination in the Best Classical Vocal Album category for her album of works by Claudio Monteverdi, which was released this spring under the label Deutsche Grammophon.

Magdalena Kožená,  photo: Czech Television
The Grammy-nominated album, simply entitled Monteverdi, has ranked among Magdalena Kožená’s best-selling recordings since March of this year. The singer is accompanied by the Basel-based La Cetra orchestra, one of the top international performers in the field of baroque music.

The artistic director is the renowned Italian conductor and harpsichordist Italian Andrea Marcon, Magdalena Kožená’s regular collaborator on world stages and on recordings for Deutsche Grammophon.

This is how Magdalena Kožená described the process of creating the album to the Czech Radio:

“I remember fondly the recording, which took place in a small church in Switzerland and there was a very nice, almost homely atmosphere. With this type of music, the ensemble is always rather small, so there were only about ten musicians.”

Along with Magdalena Kožená, opera singers Sabine Devieilhe, Dorothea Röschmann, Anna Netrebko and Ian Bostridge have also been nominated in the Best Classical Vocal Album category.

Magdalena Kožená has already appeared in Grammy nominations in 2006, when her album Lamento was nominated for the producer of the year in classical music.

This year’s nomination is all the more precious for her given the fact that Monteverdi belongs among her most favourite composers. This is how she reacted on the news in an interview for Czech Radio:

Photo: Deutsche Grammophon
“I am very pleased that it is Monteverdi of all composers. I encountered his music already when studying at the music conservatory, so he is very close to my heart, and I am all the more happy for the nomination. Of course the fact that you are praised not only by listeners but also by the critics makes me very happy.”

Born in Brno, Magdalena Kožená studied in Bratislava, winning countless awards in the Czech Republic and elsewhere. After a highly successful debut at the Janáček theatre in Brno, her triumphs continued in the Vienna Volksoper and other major venues.

Kožená, who is married to the British conductor Sir Simon Rattle, has recently established an endowment fund to support the Czech Republic’s unique system of art schools, focused on music, ballet, drama and visual arts.

A number of classical recordings from Czech production have been nominated for Grammies in the past, including the 2005 recording of Bohuslav Martinů’s symphony by the Czech Philharmonic, headed by Jiří Bělohlávek.

Three years ago, Czech singer Markéta Irglová became the nation’s first ever pop musician to win the prestigious award for the musical Once.

The 59th Grammy Awards Ceremony will be held on 12 February 2017.