of a Diva
In 1945 as World War II drew to a close Mecca Cafés Ltd. were acting on their option to retain Covent Garden Opera House as the dance hall that it became in 1940 with the closure of all theatres. Had it not been for the intervention of Lesley Boosey and Ralph Hawkes, the music publishers, with their founding of the Covent Garden Opera Trust in 1945 The House might have become a bowling alley in the 1960s! Who knows how many promising careers in British opera would have foundered without the support of the ship that was the Covent Garden Opera.
Under the first General Administrator, David Webster, and Musical Director, Karl Rankl an opera company was formed with the ideal of not inviting international singers for each production but to form a home grown company performing foreign works in English. This, it was hoped, would create a uniquely British style of performance that would encourage British librettists and composers to write for it.
Thus it was that singers including Geraint Evans, Margaret Price, Stuart Burrows, Gwyneth Jones, John Vickers, Elizabeth Vaughan, Michael Langdon and Forbes Robinson came to pre-eminence.