Music: Best Since Beecham?

Colin Davis learned his trade by retiring to his London flat, beating out rhythms to phonograph records, and casting furtive glances at his image reflected in a picture on the wall. He had only one professional conducting lesson, learned the conductor's motions by scanning instruction books.

But last fortnight Colin Davis, 32, was named principal conductor of the Sadler's Wells Opera and invited by the ailing Sir Thomas Beecham, 81, to assist him at the Glyndebourne Festival. Said Beecham, majestically speaking of himself in the third person: "Sir Thomas hopes that un der...

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