Raymond Gubbay gets Royal send-off

Raymond Gubbay gets Royal send-off


norman lebrecht

May 22, 2022

The Royal Albert Hall this afternoon put on a concert in honour of Raymond Gubbay, marking its own 150th anniversary and the 1500 concerts, operas and Ballets that Raymond has produced in the hall over half a century.

The celebrant, 76, made his own stage debut in the silent role of Sweeney Todd, being sung at by Susan Bullock.

The BBC Concert Orchestra performed under Barry Wordsworth’s baton and a Classic FM announcer carefully mispronounced every single foreign word and name. All in a good cause.


  • Jeffrey Biegel says:


    • Elsie says:

      Gubbay is certainly a one-off who provided loads of work for musicians and took a great personal interest, knowing most players by name. They do not make them like that anymore.

  • John Kelly says:

    ” a Classic FM announcer carefully mispronounced every single foreign word and name.”

    I remember toward the end of the 70s when anglicizing foreign names was BBC “policy” so we were regaled with such titles from Richard Strauss (Richard with a British pronunciation of course) as:

    “Don Jew-ann” and

    “Don Quick-sutt”


    • Dave says:

      You’ll still hear those names pronounced thus, but nowadays BBC announcers’ success rate when pronouncing foreign names and titles in general is far below what it was then.

      • John Kelly says:

        It’s not a lot better here in the US. The tedious insistence on using first as well as last names (as in “Odderinno Res-piggy”) leads to me almost switching the radio off………..and Vaughan-Williams already has a long enough name that adding “Rafe” every single time is annoying in extremis. So it could be worse!

      • John Bull says:

        I quite agree – but BBC announcers’ success rate when pronouncing ENGLISH names, titles and common terms is deteriorating at a rapid rate. Indeed, the word terminations of -ng and -t seem to be redundant, American expressions rule (‘guys’), and the BBC seems to go out of its way to find an American voice over a native speaker wherever possible in its reporting, commentary and presentation, possibly driven by its overseas commercial sales subsidised by the British licence fee payers.

    • Dave says:

      I should have added that according to BBC announcers there’s a Mozart opera about an Irishman, Don G. O’Vanney.

    • Dominic Stafford says:

      If they are referring to the Don Juan of Byron’s poem, then the BBC pronunciation is actually correct…or none of the rhymes in the poem would work. So, perhaps not so insane…

    • Nick2 says:

      At the end of the 1960s there was a pronunciation department at the BBC in Broadcasting House. Any concern about the correct way to pronounce any words, English and non-English had to be referred to it before going on air. Presumably it was one of the early cosy-saving cuts.

  • Stanley Cohen says:

    Ah — what joy to have to hear Henry Kelly regaling us with his racing tips before announcing Lensky’s aria from Oygen On-again by Tchaikovskee.

  • Robin Worth says:

    There used to be a pronunciation team at the BBC, but they dropped it.

    And which of the announcers (with some exceptions , all on radio 3) has any idea of how to pronounce Italian or German? And as for the Spanish ‘ll’ sound……….

  • Derek Deane says:

    A man and a friend to be treasured…… What incredible service to the arts he has given over the years…….. He’s one in a million…..