George Lascelles, 7th Earl of Harewood nominated by Lesley Garrett
As Grandson of George V, George Lascelles was a first cousin to Queen Elizabeth II and with his distinguished beard and Nero style jackets, he was the very image of aristocracy, moving in the highest of royal circles, yet it was in the Royal Circles of Britain's opera houses that he felt most at home.
It was at English National Opera North (now Opera North) that Lesley Garrett first met George. With their shared love of all things musical, and both proudly from Yorkshire, they developed a friendship that was to last a lifetime.
Having survived capture during the Second World War (deepening his knowledge of opera whilst interned as a prisoner of war), he dedicated much of his time to making opera accessible to all. He strove to deliver the best of opera for everyone, with a genuine passion and commitment that inspired all those he worked with.
During his career he served as Director of The Royal Opera House, Chairman of the Board of The English National Opera, Managing Director of the ENO, Managing Director of English National Opera North (now Opera North) and outside of opera he served as a Governor of the BBC and President of the British Board of Film Classification.
His other great passion was football. He served as President of Leeds United Football Club from 1961 until his death and was President of the Football Association from 1963 to 1972. As Lesley recalls, he believed that both music and sport were 'levelling', that in these worlds there were no kings or paupers. Throughout his life he supported both of these passions, opening doors for everyone, instilling values of accessibility that live on till this day. He died on 11th July 2011 aged 88.
Lesley is joined by Professor Alexandra Wilson, a musicologist, author and cultural historian, specialising in Italian opera and British operatic culture from the 1920's to the present day.
Presented by Matthew Parris
Produced by Nicola Humphries for BBC Audio Bristol