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Reginald Goodall, 1901 - 1990, was one of the greatest Wagner conductors of our times. When he died in 1990. at the age of 88, he had already acquired cult status, yet it was only during the last 20 years of his life that he became at all well known.
In 1945, he conducted the triumphant premiere of Benjamin Britten’s Peter Grimes in the newly re-opened Sadler’s Wells Theatre. In the following year he shared with Ernest Ansermet the first performances of Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia during Glyndebourne’s first postwar season.

Shortly afterwards he joined the music staff at Covent Garden, where for the next twenty-five years he conducted a repertoire ranging from Il trovatore to Troilus and Cressida. Though admired by such great conductors as Erich Kleiber and Otto Klemperer, and revered by singers like Jon Vickers, his time at Covent Garden was plagued by frustrations, setbacks and misunderstandings. Only rarely was he given the chance to conduct operas by the composer he most admired, Richard Wagner, though many artists were indebted to the coaching sessions he held in ‘Valhalla’ – his unlikely eerie which doubled as a cleaners’ cloakroom under the roof of the Royal Opera House.

He might have died in obscurity had he not been invited by Sadler’s Wells Opera to conduct a new production of The Mastersingers marking the opera’s centenary in 1968. So remarkable was its success that he returned to the company to conduct its now legendary production of The Ring, built up between 1970 and 1973 and the first to be given in English for some years. He went on to conduct Das Rheingold and Die Walkure for The Royal Opera, Tristan und Isolde for Welsh National Opera and Tristan and Parsifal at English National Opera. He received a CBE in 1975 and was knighted in 1985.
Peter Moores

'In July 2008 a live broadcast of Reggie Goodall conducting The Mastersingers of Nuremberg at Sadler's Wells Theatre in 1968 was made available on CD for the first time, released on Chandos Records' "Opera in English" label. The impact of hearing Goodall's legendary performance, forty years on, was a knock-out, not only among those who, like me, were lucky enough to have witnessed the original production, but also among younger generations. No wonder that after his magisterial account of The Mastersingers Goodall was invited to conduct an "English" Ring at the London Coliseum in the 1975. This in turn had inspired me to go knocking on doors to ensure that his Ring performances were preserved on record.

What had become very evident, from both the reception of The Mastersingers recording and the enthusiastic response to The Genius of Valhalla event at the Coliseum, was that a new edition of John Lucas's biography of Goodall would not only feed renewed interest in this remarkable musician, but also restore an important strand in the history of operatic development in Britain during the latter half of the twentieth century.'
Click here
to find out more about
The Genius of Valhalla
event that took place at
The Coliseum in November 2008.
The Financial Times

‘In sum, this is a first rate biography, painstakingly researched, judiciously balanced, crisply and lucidly written - and, as always in such cases, it illuminates much more than simply the remarkable main subject.’


‘John Lucas retails the Goodall story with unerring mastery.’
Peter Moores Foundation became aware at The Genius of Valhalla event at The Coliseum that many admirers of John Lucas’s long out of print biography of Reginald Goodall, Reggie: The Life of Reginald Goodall, would like to see it republished. Consequently it will be available from 15 October, with a new title, minor updatings and a new preface by Sir Peter Moores, part of which is reproduced below.
To buy the book visit the publisher's web site:

Click here