Why is Nana Mouskouri on classical BBC Radio 3?

Why is Nana Mouskouri on classical BBC Radio 3?


norman lebrecht

December 13, 2011

Why? indeed.

Well, it’s my fault. While making next Sunday’s documentary on Barbara, I emailed Nana to see if she – as a dominant performer in Paris in Barbara’s time – had any memories she wished to share.

She replied within ten minutes, asking when we could meet. A cafe near the George V  Hotel would do.

(photo:(c)  Lebrecht Music & Arts)

Barbara, Nana told me, was not just a close friend. She was a mentor who showed young Nana the ropes. As she would do with Roberto Alagna, she exemplified how to sing in every space, from tiny bar, to ampitheatre.

Barbara and Nana were both classically trained, both intensely serious about pitch accuracy. Both, too, had grown up under Nazi occupation. You will have to wait until Sunday to learn what it was that Barbara did to enable Nana to overcome anti-German prejudice and capture her biggest audience. Here’s the link to Sunday’s programme.

I’m sure there will be some who complain that Radio 3 should not be wasting good sonata space on features like this. See what you think.



  • Tommy says:

    You’re flattering yourself, Norman. As you well know Radio 3 isn’t just classical and it never has been. Jazz and world music (not to mention drama) have been present on the network for decades. So hearing Mouskouri isn’t remotely unusual! Strands like Late Junction, World Routes, Jazz Record Requests, Jazz Library, Jazz Line-Up, World on 3, In Tune Composer of the Week (recently devoted to be-bop) all feature non-classical stuff, and in my day (I’m flattering myself now) Music Machine, The Works, Mainly for Pleasure, even bits of Morning on 3 regularly had non-classical rep.

    Of course there will be people who complain that Radio 3 shouldn’t be wasting good sonata space (and I used to get many letters…). But they should get out more.

    Looking forward to hearing the programme!