A brief “bullet” plan of the program’s chronological content is as follows:

  • Growing up in Australia
  • Studying with Vaclav Talich in 1947 and becoming immersed in music of the Czechoslovakian heritage
  • Early days as an oboist
  • Launch of conducting career in 1948 and first recording (Pineapple Poll) in 1951
  • Bringing Janacek’s operas and other works to the world, beginning with Káta Kabanová in 1951 and leading to huge international successes and recordings from the 1970s onwards
  • One of the very earliest pioneers in authentic performance practice, eg Handel, Haydn and Mozart orchestral and operatic works
  • Engaged by Walter Legge to make many vitally important ballet recordings for EMI from the mid 1950s
  • Making famous pioneering recording of Handel’s Music for the Royal Fireworks with the full original instrumentation (26 oboes, 12 bassoons, 9 horns, 9 trumpets, 6 Side Drums, and 3 pairs of timpani)
  • Becoming a favourite conductor of singers at the Hamburg Opera
  • Revolutionising Sadlers Wells Opera (and then English National Opera as it became) as Music Director
  • Established as one of the world’s most revered and brilliant international opera conductors with an enormous repertoire and conducting virtually every great opera singer for many decades at the Royal Opera House, Metropolitan Opera, Vienna Staatsoper, and in studio recordings
  • Guest conducting a huge repertoire with the world’s top orchestras – a favourite of the orchestras as well as the audiences
  • Mastering many languages – an important aspect of his great opera conducting
  • Retracing steps to Australia later in career and conducting acclaimed performances there as Sydney Symphony Orchestra Music Director from 1982, including world premieres of new Australian compositions
  • Acclaimed Music Directorship of Welsh National Opera, bringing it to an international forefront
  • Performing and recording many important series of music from Mozart to Brahms on period instruments with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra
  • Hugely revered for his mastery of such an extraordinarily wide range of styles and the unfailing brilliant results of his performances, notably in terms of dynamism, precision, colour, excitement and special artistic sensitivity and subtlety.

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