We are all reeling from the shock of Robert's sudden death yesterday, an unbearable loss of one of the kindest, most generous, most life loving and life enhancing, most twinkly humourous yet deeply serious friends and colleagues one could wish for. When we first met 45 years ago he was one of Emmie Tillett's well chosen young men all of whom went on to distinguished careers in our business. One of his early tasks was to look after the great , then octagenarian, Andrés Segovia on a tour of the UK - what a start!
After Emmie handed over the business to Wilfred Stiff he remained there for a short time before moving to join Lies Askonas in those Lilliputian offices in Air Street - his tiny frame fitted those narrow corridors perfectly! And he eventually teamed up with Martin Campbell-White as joint managing director of Askonas Holt, a brilliantly successful re-merger of two of Emmie's young men! Robert's strength as a manager of singers was unrivalled and what a roster he had!
And in all those years we worked together, particularly of course during my Glyndebourne years, those sparkling mischievous eyes ensured that there was never a cross word. Unique! So we grew old together (actually he was nine years younger than me) in the business that he adored, with the singers that he adored and who adored him, one of the finest most selfless beings in a business where such creatures are few and far between. There are aching hearts around the world - it is hard to believe............
Photo by Tristan Cook/Met Opera