Yesterday was a day on which so many of us remembered our friend and colleague George Christie - at a remarkable memorial service at St James's, Piccadilly. Decades of memories of this exceptional man swept over the hundreds of his friends and colleagues who were present. And the whole 90 minutes was a tribute, in the music that he adored, by those who were stimulated and galvanized by his extraordinary work at Glyndebourne.
Former music directors Bernard Haitink, Andrew Davis, and Vladimir Jurowski conducted members of the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the "Glyndebourne Chorus" including Susan Bullock, Felicity Lott, Susan Bickley, Sarah Connolly, Barry Banks, Ryland Davies, Toby Spence, Gerald Finley, Alan Opie, Brindley Sherratt, and longest serving member of all Charles Kerry, made their individual and collective contributions - all in tribute to a unique spirit who inspired the best to achieve the best.........he can never be forgotten and we miss him so much.
And yesterday evening I was present at a little recital in Hampstead that brought us some new young talent of the quality that George would have so approved of. This was a short programme put together by the gifted Finnegan Downie Dear, destined I believe for a distinguished career in our business - a fine pianist with the musical and personal attributes that could take him very far indeed.
Angharad Lyddon, still at the Royal Academy of Music but a recent member of the Glyndebourne Chorus, was one of the youngest members of the august group that had contributed to George's memorial service yesterday morning. And she distinguished herself in this recital with striking singing of four of Elgar's five Sea Pictures. First performed by the contralto Clara Butt they lie quite low in places for a modern mezzo soprano, but Miss Lyddon had no difficulty whatsoever in producing ravishing and expressive singing in the lower reaches - impressive.
The other singer yesterday evening was Ross Ramgobin, a Neue Stimmen finalist in 2013. He sang Schubert and Ravel, once again revealing a voice of exceptional beauty, and a sensibility and intellect that brought a range of expressive colour to his performance. His recent success as Owen Wingrave in Aldeburgh signals a career of importance, evidence for which was also demonstrated yesterday evening.
And Finnegan Downie Dear, animator of all this in aid of the excellent Shadwell Opera project of which he is co-music director, provided an intensely musical and highly skilled foundation at the piano to support these fine young singers. An excellent end to the day!