Old men write autobiographies, and I had a story to tell, having been a fashionable designer in the swinging ’60s, friends with David Hockney, working in Paris and London (Annabels, the Art Nouveau Wiltons restaurant, and the Art Deco dressing room at Drury Lane for Ginger Rogers).
In 1968 I ‘dropped out’ like many, and bought a ruined monastery in Tuscany. Here I founded the Batignano Opera Festival which, for the following 31 years, staged many unknown early works as well as commissioning new ones, a high point being Italo Calvino’s version of Mozart’s unfinished Zaide, also performed at the Old Vic.
The festival was a launching pad for much young British talent including singers like Lesley Garrett, and composers such as Jonathan Dove. Directors included Graham Vick, Richard Jones and Rupert Goold. Conductors such as Ivor Bolton, Harry Bicket and David Parry as well as designers like Maria Bjørnson (Phantom of the Opera), Sue Blane (Rocky Horror Show) and Yolanda Sonnabend (Jarman’s film of The Tempest). In 2004 I was awarded a CBE for services to music and Anglo-italian relations.
Adam Pollocks book ‘A Heap of Stones’ can be purchased here.