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Sir Reginald Goodhall (13 July 1901 - 5 May 1990 )will always be respected for his gifts to music as a conductor, but probably his greatest achievement was his preparing and conducting performances of Richard Wagner's' Ring of the Nibelungen' - the first English language cycles in the 1970s. His recordings of this translated Ring brought him fame and glory with critics and public alike: indeed many consider him one of the greatest conductors of Wagner of all time. What John Lucas has given us in this remarkably well written and warm biography is a study of the man drawn from conversations with Goodhall as well as his diaries and notes and scores.
But this is not simply a book about the idiosyncrasies and dark shadows that accompanied Goodhall's political life, this is a survey of England's opera history, the rise and fall of the Sadler's Wells Opera, the formation of the English National Opera, the conductor's trials with Covent Garden, and all of the underbelly of the immense preparation and slow rise to respectability that accompanied Goodhall's life. For those who love opera and have a fancy for the British composers (Goodhall conducted and prepared the premiere of Britten's 'Peter Grimes') and conductors, this little book is indispensible. Grady Harp, October 10
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