Classical musicians are classic beauties

In a surprising new list, Playboy celebrates the “Hottest Babes of Classical Music.” The magazine’s editors find sexy people everywhere, so why not the opera and the symphony?

Say what you want about such a list, but I applaud anything that removes the nerd stigma from highbrow pursuits like classical music. If seeing the hotties behind the music encourages people to buy records and concert tickets, I say yay. In fact, I’ve been known to buy a Cecilia Bartoli CD or two based on how sexy she looks singing those arias.

One musician on the list, however, startled me. Is violin virtuoso Hilary Hahn old enough to be “hot”? Seems like just yesterday she was the child prodigy the critics were calling “the talent of the century.” Talent grows up, I suppose, because Hilary is now a lovely 28-year-old woman.

Leila Josefowicz was another child prodigy who began playing violin when she was just three years old. She was playing with symphonies in her teens, and debuted at Carnegie Hall when she was 16. Now Leila is 30, a mom and gorgeous.

One look at opera singer Danielle de Niese, and you’ll understand why she’s on the list. The 28-year-old Halle Berry look-alike grew up in Los Angeles, the daughter of South African and Australian parents. Playboy especially liked the way Danielle looked when she portrayed Cleopatra in Handel’s Giulio Cesare, in which she was wearing a bejeweled halter. I bet Halle can’t sing like this.

Russian-born opera singer Anna Netrebko has never been bothered by the attention paid to her sultry looks and often poses seductively. The soprano turns 37 on Thursday and still looks as good as she sounds.

Ariana Ghez is the principal oboist of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and one of the youngest leaders in a major orchestra. In addition to her music studies at Juilliard, she has an undergrad in English literature from Columbia.

Others on Playboy’s list: Sarah Coburn, Anne Sophie-Mutter, Julia Fischer, Janine Jansen and Jennifer Frautschi.

Do these classical musicians make you swoon? Which classical music babe is your favorite? Do you know of others? If you play classical music, nominate yourself.