I was at the Garrick today for lunch with my old friend and colleague Nicholas Payne. We go back 45 years I think......so its fun to catch up and compare notes!
Nicholas started out, as a 20 something, at the Royal Opera, then joined the Arts Council of Great Britain in the finance department. He subsequently during his long career has held senior positions at the Welsh National Opera, Opera North, the Royal Opera, and English National Opera. He is one of the dying race of "Impresario" Opera Company Directors........
He has run Opera Europa quite brilliantly for the last ten years. He has transformed this organisation which serves the opera business in Europe. He has made it an extraordinarily successful advocate for opera as well as an indispensable resource for opera companies of all sizes.
He is a man of great courage and determination as well as being fearsomely intelligent. We are delighted to have him on the Jury for Neue Stimmen - with his discriminating judgement he makes a huge contribution.
And he is a most convivial lunch companion!