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People: 125 Bernard Haitink Alan Blyth

T doubt if anyo ne e lse 111 the long history of this ser ies has been honoured with a profile who has made so few operatic appearances as Bernard Haitink. In a sense that is a personal tribute to a musician who has admitted that he is a 'non-conductor ' and a 'slow grower·, a man who deliberatel y shuns the limelight , hates - as he has repeatedl y confirmed to me - the cult of personality in music and is the very antipo le of the flambo yant conductor. Humility before the music under hand is proclaimed by many musicians ; in Hai tink 's case it happens to be tr ue, and is as much evident in the opera-house pit as it has been for so many years on the concert podium.

The circumstances of his early life , a nd the absence of a co ns istent tradition of opera in his home co untry, Hol land , are no doubt the main reasons why he was into his forties before he rea ll y became established as an opera conductor - a nd that even now to all intents an d purposes only in this countr y. Still , a more personally ambitious artist wit h Haitink 's talen t would probably have wanted to give us his Verdi , his Mozart , his

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