From time to time, on a Lebrecht Interview, the person in the opposite seat reveals unsuspected depths of ambition, frustration and regret.
With Sir Roger Norrington, tonight’s subject, we were chatting in his Berkshire gazebo about his former life as an academic publisher and out-of-office-hours singer, when he burst out with the assertion that, has he persisted with the singing, he could have gone as far as any of his contemporaries, as far as the leading English tenor, Philip Langridge.
‘Are you sure?’ I pressed (I hope this makes it to the broadcast cut). ‘Sure,’ said Norro.
Among other subjects we covered were his privileged intellectual upbringing in Oxford, his wartime boyhood in Canada, his enterpreneurial zeal – ever setting up and winding down his own ensembles – and his late-onset immersion in Mahler, about which he has interesting – and, for me, persuasive opinions.
The Lebrecht Interview is on BBC Radio 3 tonight at 9pm and streamed all week online.