20 Aug 2005
The Guardian Profiles Sir Charles Mackerras
Raphaela Papadakis seems to like ‘playing with fire’. After her acclaimed performance as the put-upon maid, Anna, in Independent Opera’s production of Šimon Voseček’s Beidermann and the Arsonists at Sadler’s Wells last year, she is currently rehearsing for the premiere this week of And London Burned, a new opera by Matt Rogers which has been commissioned by Temple Music Foundation to commemorate the 350th anniversary of The Great Fire of London.
The modest maestro
Charles Mackerras was born in the US and raised in Australia before coming to England to study music. A stay in Prague confirmed his desire to be a conductor and ignited a passion for Janacek. Though internationally acclaimed, he disdained stardom and missed out on the plum post at Covent Garden. Now approaching 80, he is still in great demand
Stephen Moss [The Guardian, 20 August 2005]
Sir Charles Mackerras was conducting the Philharmonia Orchestra at the Festival Hall in June when the death of the great Italian maestro Carlo Maria Giulini was announced. Giulini had had a long association with the Philharmonia in the 1960s and his death had to be marked. Some conductors would have milked the occasion, shed theatrical tears, perhaps changed the programme, but not Mackerras. He made a brief, well-judged speech, then put away the microphone and ignited the orchestra, letting a Mozart adagio - the scheduled item and, as he told the audience, apposite to the occasion - express the emotion felt by Giulini's fellow musicians.