Sir Brian McMaster
'The Croydon Valkyrie (1954) was a sort of myth, everybody spoke about it as one of the great performances and Reginald Goodall as a great unknown conductor at that time.'
Sir John Tomlinson
'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.'
'Goodall's tempi weren't always slow, I mean the Ring was expansive and that could have been because it was sung in English but Tristan was passionate. If you compare Carl Bohm in the 2nd act just after the lovers meet, then Goodall is slow compared to Bohm, but, Thank God for that, because he gets the wonderful lyrical moments as well as the fire and passion.'
'He loved rehearsing almost as much as the performances'
'More - the big problem with Reggie was getting him up there to conduct a performance because he loved the rehearsal part. I remember Brian said to me, "Reggie will never sign a contract", and my great excitement was that Reggie signed the contract for Tristan after the dress rehearsal and Brian said, "This is a first, it's fantastic". Yet on the first night of the Tristan I remember him coming to us both and saying, "I'm very tired I don't think I can do this. I'm sure Mr Armstrong would do a very good job".'
'He didn't believe in conducting the singers he believed in conducting the orchestra somewhere underneath the podium and he used to say, "I'm not a bloody policeman".'
'The preparation, your 18 months, 2 years you didn't need to look down into the pit to see. There was no beat, you knew the music so well.'
'He was very gentle but very demanding. I was then in control of writing the programme notes for our performances (of Tristan) and he insisted that I read the whole of Schopenhauer.'
'I think it took a huge act of faith from the Sadlers Wells management in the late 60s not just Edmund Tracey but the managing director Stephen Arland and the others there to say, "Yes, we do see something special in this guy." Because for me the revelation was that first night of The Mastersingers.'
'He once told me that his Barber of Seville was the slowest Barber of Seville and the most boring ever.'
'Reggie would make funny little signs whilst conducting. He would tap his stomach meaning the sound was too beefy; a tap to the head meant keep it light and bright; a tug to his ear for softly; and a tap of his watch for too fast, slow down.'
'He hated taking curtain calls as he was a very modest man and I would have to literally drag him on stage at the end of the work.'