I am sorry that rehearsals in Dresden prevented me from being with you at the Coliseum today. I am fortunate to have worked with Reggie in the late 70s and early 80s on King Mark, Fasolt and Hagen, and 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.

Each public performance he gave was, to Reggie, merely another milestone on the journey. The day after, we would be back in 'Valhalla', re-thinking, re-working. For him, I think, this perpetual preparation made his task ever more achievable. His task being the elusive one of bringing these great operas to natural, free, expressive life. An inspiration indeed.