Goodall, Sir Reginald

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Goodall, Sir Reginald

Goodall, Sir Reginald, notable English conductor; b. Lincoln, July 13, 1901; d. Barham, May 5, 1990. He studied piano, violin, and conducting at the Royal Coll. of Music in London, and later pursued his training in Munich and Vienna. In 1936 he made his debut conducting Carmen in London, and became a repetiteur at Covent Garden there. From 1936 to 1939 he was asst. conductor of the Royal Choral Soc. in London. His decision to join the British Union of Fascists just 5 days after Hitler invaded Poland in 1939 undoubtedly played a role in delaying his career opportunities. From 1944 to 1946 he was a conductor at the Sadler’s Wells Opera in London, where he was chosen to conduct the premiere of Britten’s Peter Grimes on June 7, 1945. From 1946 to 1961 he was on the conducting staff at Covent Garden, but then was relegated to the position of a repetiteur there from 1961 to 1971. Thereafter he again had the opportunity to conduct there. In 1968 he emerged as a major operatic conductor when he conducted a remarkable performance of Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg in English at the Sadler’s Wells Opera. In 1973 he conducted an acclaimed traversal of the Ring cycle there in English. In subsequent years, he was ranked among the leading Wagnerian interpreters of the day. In 1975 he was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire. He was knighted in 1985.


J. Lucas, Reggie: The Life of R.G. (London, 1993).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire