Charlie's gift

Charlie's gift


norman lebrecht

August 11, 2010

Waiting for someone in the lobby of English National Opera, I let my eye roam idly over the list of private donors who heped towards the restoration of the glorious Coliseum.

There, in the middle, was a ‘Mrs Doris Lessing’ (she collaborated on an opera some years back with Mr Philip Glass) and there, just below, were ‘Sir Charles and Lady Mackerras’.

Now that’s noble, I thought.

Charlie, as I recalled when he died last month, had a wretched time as music director of ENO in the 1970s. The orchestra didn’t respect him, the singers were unfriendly and the management were too busy fighting fires on other fronts to give him much support. It may have been one of the most miserable times in his life.

Yet when the company was in dire need two decades later, who steps up to the plate with a cheque but Sir Charles and Lady Mackerras. That’s the mark of a decent man, a really good person.  


  • Amanda Craig says:

    What a splendid man. I always think people who help sponsor the arts (music especially) deserve all our gratitude, but his as you say beyond the call of duty.