Wednesday, 23 May, 2018

Sir Peter Hall, theatre, film and opera director, dies aged 86

Sir Peter Hall was credited with rebuilding Britain's cultural heritage 'from the ground up'
Credit
MARTIN POPE for The Telegraph Sir Peter Hall was credited with rebuilding Britain's cultural heritage 'from the ground up' Credit MARTIN POPE for The Telegraph
Herman Weaver | 13 September, 2017, 02:31

During his incredible career, Hall staged the English language premiere of Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot and the first ever performance of Harold Pinter's Homecoming.

Sir Richard Eyre, who took over from Hall as director of the National in 1988, said: "Peter created the template of the modern director - part-magus, part-impresario, part-politician, part celebrity".

Critic Rupert Christiansen tweeted: "Peter Hall one of the greatest of opera directors: he understood that the music had to lead the drama...', and a statement issued by the Royal Opera House noted that Hall 'brought to all his opera direction a deep understanding of the music, much clarity and profound dramatic insight". His works included the London and Broadway premieres of Alan Ayckbourn's Bedroon Farce.

Sir Peter was also the founding Artistic Director of the Rose Theatre in Kingston, a world class dementia-friendly theatre which welcomes and caters for those living with dementia.

Playwright Sir David Hare and actors Sir Patrick Stewart, Laurence Fox and Toby Stephens also paid tribute.

Under his leadership, the theatre moved from the Old Vic to the South Bank, and Sir Peter remained with the National until 1988. "His legendary tenacity and vision created an extraordinary and lasting legacy for us all".

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Gregory Doran said of his predecessor 'Sir Peter Hall was a Colossus, bestriding the British Theatre.

'Our honest thoughts and sympathies are with Sir Peter's family and friends at this sad time'.

Hall made his Royal Opera House debut in 1965 with the United Kingdom premiere of Schoenberg's Moses und Aron, in collaboration with music director Georg Solti, and returned the following year with a new production of The Magic Flute, sung in English and conducted by Solti, for which Hall carefully re-created the original 1791 stage directions. "He was - and is - the godfather (in both senses) of British theatre and like countless directors, writers and actors of several generations I have much to be grateful to him for". Hall's final production was in 2011, when he returned to the National Theatre with Twelfth Night, starring his daughter Rebecca Hall.

"Peter's greatness lay in his astonishing originality, his charismatic leadership, his unparalleled daring, his profound scholarship, his matchless articulacy and his visionary understanding of what we call "the theatre" could be. A great director and shaper of British theatre".

Hall was married four times: to actress Leslie Caron, former personal assistant Jacqueline Taylor, opera singer Maria Ewing and publicist Nicki Frei.

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