Sporting a flattering pale blonde do, chatting to her table-mate Immodesty Blaize, and chugging her bodyweight in unidentified liquids, Natalie Dessay was one of the lower-profile guests at the annual cheesefest that is the Classical Brits, held on Thursday night at the Royal Albert Hall.
The awards themselves are more important to the record companies who allot them than they are to anyone else. And the performances are so overamplified that even the few not-bad ones can be a trial. But where else would you get to see Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen presenting a prize to Tom Adès?
The low point came right at the start, with Andre Rieu and his ghastly ill-tuned orchestra bashing out Strauss medleys as if phrasing, rhythm and indeed taste had never been invented. People pay for this?
Nearly as bad was Camilla Kerslake, a 'soprano' who'd have trouble passing an amateur choir audition. She murdered Nessun dorma (to be, inexplicably, released as a single) with the benefit of some competent singers (Blake and Enchanted Voices) behind her to drown out her flattest and wispiest notes.
In theory, Angela Gheorghiu upped the standards, but I remain unsure if her Un bel si vedremo was any good. The amplified output was so out of sync with her live vocal it sounded as if there were two people singing. At least they were both in tune.
She slipped out of her Victorian fetish number into a feathered flapper dress to accept an award from Richard E.Grant for best female artist (that's what you get for turning up and putting on a show) and managed to thank fellow nominees Anna Netrebko and 'that woman conductor' (Marin Alsop) in a rambling acceptance speech which I'm willing to bet will be cut from the 18 May ITV broadcast.
And here she is (top left) sitting next to Tom Adès. Did she ask him to write a little something for her perhaps? Behind her is Bryn Terfel and at the table to her right, Mr and Mrs Rolando Villazon.
Rolando Villazon's Légende de Kleinzach was (I think) more successful than his ill-judged Handel escapade last week, but again the amplification was so poor it was near impossible to tell.
And here he is on one of the two jumbo screens which flanked the stage:
But Rolando's biggest success of the evening was the highly entertaining acceptance speech he made on behalf of the absent Tony Pappano, awarded the critics' prize for his Verdi Requiem recording. Maybe Rolando's destined to become opera's Ozzy Osbourne, who knows.
Bryn Terfel gracefully turned up even though he wasn't nominated for anything, and showed everyone else how it's done with Tre sbirri, una carrozza from Tosca.
The most spectacular performance of the evening came from the only man appropriately dressed for the occasion, Rhydian. The Only Men Aloud choir (who won one of the awards) joined him in an arrangement of Orff's O Fortuna.
Rhydian spent most of the evening gossiping at his table with big-gunned Jodie Prenger, who I sincerely hope is not about to deprive the musical theatre world of her talents in favour of a classical venture.
And now for the random stuff. Liverpool Philharmonic conductor Vasily Petrenko seemed thrilled to get an award.
As did the terrific violinist Jack Liebeck, who unfortunately didn't get to perform.
It was all going wrong below the neck for Alison Balsom. Looking blooming after recently giving birth to her first baby, she blew the wrong fashion note in a goth corset, manly trousers and p0rn nails.
Gerald Finley posed on the red carpet with Jon Lord and Natasha Marsh
and later did the chat rounds.
The big finale fell to Dame Kiri Te Kanawa. After accepting a lifetime achievement award from Jeremy Irons,
she proved she's still got what it takes with a bit of Mozart.
Young British Classical Performer or Group - Jack Liebeck
Composer of the Year - Thomas Ades (for The Tempest)
Soundtrack of the Year - Thomas Newman, Revolutionary Road
Female Artist of the Year - Angela Gheorghiu
Male Artist of the Year - Vasily Petrenko
Critics' Award - Verdi: Messa Da Requiem, Roma Orchestra Dell' Accademia Nazionale Di Santa Cecilia, Antonio Pappano, Rolando Villazon, Anja Harteros, Sonja Ganassi & Rene Pape.
NS&I Album of the Year - Only Men Aloud, Band Of Brothers
Lifetime Achievement - Dame Kiri Te Kanawa