Dame Anne Evans
Sir John Tomlinson
click here for his statement
Sir Brian
John Lucas
Peter Moores Foundation was able to assemble a panel of Sir Reginald Goodall’s colleagues who helped, through memories, anecdotes and analysis, to throw some light on how he managed to produce performances of Wagner’s music that 60 years later resonate so strongly. It was chaired by Humphrey Burton whose 1984 Omnibus programme, The Quest for Reginald Goodall, was shown as part of the proceedings. The panel, shown below, was to include Gwynne Howell but unfortunately he could not attend due to ill heath.
Humphrey Burton
Alberto Remedios
click here for his statement
Two Wagnerian singers who worked with Sir Reginald Goodall, Alberto Remedios and Sir John Tomlinson, couldn’t join the panel but sent written statements instead.
Brian McMaster

'He was always accused of having no technique. Those conductors who have fantastic techniques and can get an orchestra to play anything, but actually they can’t make music, always accused him of this. I think actually he had a really phenomenal technique for getting results from orchestras.

The simple evidence is when you listen to the recordings. Yes, he demanded an amount of rehearsal but in fact it wasn’t an amount of rehearsal that was totally extraordinary at all. Any major conductor would have asked for it. He did use sectional rehearsals and used them very constructively but he technically achieved in the way orchestras played, amazing things that he had discovered in the score.'

Continues with Sir John Tomlinson, Anthony Negus, Dame Anne Evans, Nicholas Payne, Margaret Curphey and Alberto Remedios...

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Sir John Tomlinson

'Some of his scrawled instructions remain in the vocal scores I still use today; reminders of the cloakroom under the roof of the Royal Opera House (which we called 'Valhalla') where, with Lionel Friend at the piano, we worked hour after hour with seemingly no regard for the passing of time.

    Reggie was immensely demanding of his singers, but at the same time inspirational, so that one had the confidence and strength to meet those demands. At the heart of his work lay a resolute, single-minded dedication to the work alone; namely the investigation of the last 7 music dramas of Richard Wagner. All efforts were focussed on this task, all details of the score studied with limitless patience, any new light to be thrown on the work welcomed and discussed.'

Continues with Norman Bailey, Margaret Curphy, Alberto Remedios and Dame Anne Evans...

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Nicholas Payne

'WNO (Welsh National Opera) was transformed as a company as a result of him coming to do Tristan and the later things with us then and it wasn’t just his performances, it was the performances with Richard Armstrong and Anthony Negus and others who came afterwards. And I think sitting here in this great auditorium, that Reggie’s Ring in the 70s made the ENO (English National Opera) at The Coliseum. It was the event that justified the move (from Sadlers Wells). It was a very contentious decision and some people today think that it was a contentious decision, but when you heard those performances, which I did up in the balcony, it was not a contentious decision it completely justified it and it justified the whole idea of top quality properly prepared opera in the English language.'

John Lucas

'There was a tremendous moment when suddenly at Bayreuth in, I think, ’89, you had the Brunnhilde, the Wotan, the Fricka, all of them had been coached by Reggie and I would like to think that the principles that he taught of singing, of understanding Wagnerian technique, there will be another generation who will be taught by those who were with him.'

Brian McMaster

'He went deeper into those Wagner scores than possibly any other conductor and the fact that, thanks to Sir Peter Moores, those recordings - The Ring, Parsifal and now The Mastersingers and another Parsifal just coming out - exist, means that young conductors will at some point come back to listening to those and rediscovering them and audiences will too. And I think that he was the greatest conductor of Wagner that there has been and that influence will last.'
‘lt was heart-warming for oldsters to hear Margaret Curphey and Norman Bailey reminiscing about the debt they owed Goodall - extracts from that amazing Mastersingers were played - and from more recent times his friend Anne Evans, whose international success as Brünnhilde and Isolde owed so much to him. And there was an affectionate and witty voice message from Alberto Remedios, also from John Tomlinson, prevented from attending by rehearsals in Dresden - Reggie would have understood and appreciated that. All stressed the importance he attached to the colouring of words and clarity of diction. The administrators Brian McMaster and Nicholas Payne recalled how difficult it could be actually to get him into the pit for a first night after his beloved rehearsals were over. To say that Reggie could be 'difficult' is an understatement.’
‘Reginald Goodall became a Wagner coach of wondrous detail and charisma who, in the last third of his life, was finally given the chance to translate this knowledge into some telling interpretations in the theatre and on record. Great affection, a wry sense of humour, and many, many hours of rehearsing were uppermost in the memories of a panel of singers, administrators, a conductor and a biographer gathered to celebrate Reginald Goodall's career. The title of the event referred not just to Wotan's godly abode but to the nickname of a tiny cleaner's room way up at the back of the Royal Opera House amphitheatre. It was here, from the early 1950s to just before his death in 1990 that "Reggie" did the great part of his one-on-one Wagner coaching. The numerous artists he worked with included Jon Vickers, Donald MacIntyre, Yvonne Minton, John Tomlinson, Gwynne Howell, Anne Evans, Linda Esther Gray, Johanna Meier, all his ENO and WNO casts and several bakers' dozens of Rhinedaughters, Valkyries and Flowermaidens.

The second half of the event was devoted to a showing of panel chairman Humphrey Burton's 1984 Omnibus programme. It drew revealing comments, not least from Joan Cross (who was instrumental in bringing Goodall to Sadlers Wells Opera in 1944, where he would conduct her as Ellen in the world premiere of Peter Grimes). After hearing a supposed rationale for Covent Garden's neglect of Goodall as conductor, Cross just looked straight into camera and commented, "Rubbish!" At ENO and WNO the orchestras welcomed the unaccustomed attention of his lengthy sectional rehearsals and, with all the hard work done in the studio, played their hearts out for him in the pit.’