The Glittering Prizes

When embarking on recording whole operas, it was only natural that Mozart – and especially the Da Ponte operas: The Marriage of Figaro, Cosi fan Tutte and Don Giovanni – should feature prominently. Figaro was also the first opera that ASMF performed live, at a festival in the south of France.

It had not taken long after the early LP recordings for Marriner and the Academy to start to win industry awards. Two that stand out are: the gold disc of 19.. awarded for sales of a million LP records, of which some 750,000 were accounted for by Vivaldi’s Four Seasons alone; and the USA award for the recording of the soundtrack of Amadeus.

One of a series of silhouette-inspired boxes for the three operas by Mozart to libretti by Lorenzo da Ponte; this one for Cosi Fan Tutte.
Design for the Philips box of Mozart’s opera Cosi fan Tutte, 1990

Recognition in ASMF’s home territory came in 1992 with a remarkable prize – indeed unique in industry terms – of the Queen’s Award for Export Achievement. This put the cap on Marriner’s personal honours: CBE in 1979, then knighthood in 1986. “Being a knight makes people think you’re more intelligent than you really are.”