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Our motto: "Critical thinking in the cheap seats." Unbiased, honest classical music and opera opinions, occasional obituaries and classical news reporting, since 2007. All written content © 2019 by Paul J. Pelkonen. For more about Superconductor, visit this link. For advertising rates, click this link. Follow us on Facebook.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Obituary: The Seventh Earl of Harewood (1923-2011)

George Henry Hubert Lascelles, the Seventh Earl of Harewood.
Portrait by Tom Wood.
Music-loving noble, gave opera the royal treatment.
George Henry Hubert Lascelles, better known to the Royal College of Arms and opera lovers around the world as the seventh Earl of Harewood, died on July 11. He was 88.

Lord Harewood was a first cousin of Queen Elizabeth II and was sixth in line for the throne of England when he was born in 1923. When he died, he was forty-sixth. But he was better known to opera lovers as the editor of Kobbe's Complete Opera Book, a weighty tome that includes detailed historical information and plot summaries of operas from Aida to Die Zauberflöte.

The Earl was also the general manager of the English National Opera from 1972 to 1985, putting the London-based opera company on the musical map with projects like the first English language performance of Wagner's The Ring of the Nibelung under the baton of the late Sir Reginald Goodall. He also served as a casting manager at the Royal Opera House of Covent Garden, and was the director of the Edinburgh Festival in Scotland and Australia's Adelaide Festival.

Kobbé's Opera Book was originally the brain-child of Mr. Gustav Kobbé, opera critic of the New York Herald. It was first published in 1909, one year after Mr. Kobbé was n, it remains a vital one-volume resource for opera lovers. Lord Harewood became the editor of the book in 1954, after finding fault with an earlier edition of the book. It is still in print, and sits on the shelf of many opera aficionados.

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