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In recognition for his ten years as music director of the Royal Opera,  Georg Solti was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II on March 25, 1972. The news was carried in this article from the Chicago Tribune (courtesy of ProQuest via the Chicago Public Library).

“The last two new productions I conducted during my directorship of the Royal Opera were Eugene Onegin, in February 1971, and Tristan und Isolde, in June, both directed by Peter Hall. At my last performance as music director, Birgit Nilsson took the part of Isolde. After ten years at Covent Garden, I know that it would be an emotional occasion for me and I was worried that I might become overwhelmed. But the night itself was incredibly hot and I needed all my concentration just to get to the end of the opera.

“After the performance, there was a reception in the Crush Bar, attended both by Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, and by the prime minister, Edward Heath, who made me an honorary Knight of the British Empire. (It had to be honorary, because at that time I was still a German citizen.) . . .

“Despite my marriage to an Englishwoman and my decade-long directorship of the Royal Opera House, every time I landed at London’s Heathrow Airport after a trip abroad I had to go through the foreigners’ immigration queue, while my family joined the queue for British subjects, which was usually shorter. After I had been made an honorary KBE, I applied for British citizenship. . . . Within a short time, in 1972, British nationality was granted to me, and I was able officially to add the title Sir to my name. . . . I have a British wife and two British daughters, and British I shall remain.”

Text excerpted from Memoirs by Sir Georg Solti.

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