“Beecham and the Golden Age of Wagner singing” with John Lucas

Posted by on 9, Sep, 2020 in | Comments Off on “Beecham and the Golden Age of Wagner singing” with John Lucas

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  • "Beecham and the Golden Age of Wagner singing" with John Lucas
    26 November 2020
    6:30 pm - 7:00 pm


Beecham and the Golden Age of Wagner singing








Above, from left to right: Beecham with Furtwangler in Bayreuth, 1936; and Beecham with Melchior and Leider on the Ring set at Covent Garden

Wagnerian Gold

With the help of little known live recordings, John Lucas invokes the glories of the 1930s seasons at Covent Garden when Sir Thomas Beecham was the artistic director and chief conductor. The roster of great Wagner singers included Frida Leider, Lauritz Melchior and Kirsten Flagstad. Ernest Newman, influential music critic of the Sunday Times and author of the four-volume Life of Wagner, wrote, ‘On a hundred occasions I felt tempted to stand up and thank Providence for Beecham, and probably would have done so could I have been sure I was addressing my thanks for so demoniac a phenomenon to the proper quarter.


John Lucas

John Lucas was on the staff of The Observer for 20 years, a third of them as Arts Editor. On leaving the paper he wrote two acclaimed biographies of conductors – Thomas Beecham: An Obsession with Music and The Genius of Valhalla, the life of Reginald Goodall – and completed Peter Heyworth’s monumental biography of Otto Klemperer. Reviewing the Beecham book in the Musical Times, David Wright wrote, ‘Lucas gets as close as any author can in giving his reader a good sense of wherein lay Beecham’s greatness as a conductor.’


This online event is free to all members (non-members £5).  Please register your interest below and you will be sent a Zoom link in good time for the lecture, probably during the previous day. (Please do not contact us for the link unless it has not been received immediately before the lecture is due to begin.) If you wish to make a donation, please do so via our website (see button to the right) or contact treasurer@wagnersociety.org.   (NOTE: Joint members intending to watch this lecture together only need to register once.)



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