Pop and opera stars take Polar Music Prize
Swedish songwriter and music producer Max Martin and Italian mezzo-soprano opera singer Cecilia Bartoli are the winners of Sweden's top music accolade, the 2016 Polar Music Prize.
Internationally celebrated producer Max Martin is the first songwriter to receive the award. He is also the first Swede ever to win the Polar Music Prize in the popular music category.
“Thank you very much, it is an honor. I will see you all in Stockholm in June”, Max Martin said after the announcement, via a video call.
Chairman of the Polar Music Prize award jury Alfons Karabuda tells Radio Sweden that the pair, though coming from the differing worlds of opera and pop, share a passion and aptitude for melodies.
"The do have that in common," he says. "They also have this ability of reaching out and getting huge audiences."
The Polar Music Prize was founded by former Abba manager Stig Andersson and has been awarded annually since 1992. Previous laureates include Paul McCartney, Elton John, Bob Dylan and Led Zeppelin.
Max Martin, born Martin Sandberg, has written and produced many top hits, including Britney Spears "Baby one more time", and also worked with Robyn, Backstreet boys, Westlife, Celine Dion, Katy Perry, Christina Aguilera and Taylor Swift.
Cecilia Bartoli hails from Rome, Italy, and has sung in operas since she was a child. The Polar Prize committee also recognized Bartoli's work for uncovering and reviving older, forgotten works from the 1700s and onward.