Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to Alan Frank (OUP)

Letter No.: 
7th December, 1949.

The White Gates,
Dorking, Surrey.

The White Gates,
Dorking, Surrey.

7th December, 1949.


Dear Frank,
I think I had better put you wise on all the developments of "Pilgrim's Progress". It has not progressed very far yet.
You will remember that Michael Mullinar played through it to a few friends including Webster and Frankl1 from Covent Garden about a year ago. They said a few polite nothings and nothing more happened.
So after communicating with you about other possibilities I approached Cambridge. They were very keen to do it but things have hung fire as they cannot get the necessary funds. Meanwhile Covent Garden
has begun to repent and has been making tentative suggestions. I pointed out that Cambridge had the first choice, but I suppose if Cambridge turns it down, Covent Garden will have the next chance if they want it. So Oxford, if they want it, must come third.

To any body of people that want it I make the following stipulations:
1. The orchestra must be entirely professional and must be not less than 55 players.Of course in a place like Oxford or Cambridge if there were some amateur players who were really as good as professionals I would waive this point for a few of them.
2. I must approve of the conductor.
3. The principal singers must be professionals.
4. The producer and the production must be approved of by me, and the Producer must from the start honestly try to carry out my very detailed instructions and not start again on his own from the beginning, as most producers nowadays seem to do.
That is all there is to be said about it at present, I think.
Yours sincerely,
R Vaughan Williams

(R. Vaughan Williams).

Alan Frank, Esq.,
The Oxford University Press.

1. David Webster was Gerneral Administrator of the Royal Opera House. Perhaps 'Frankl' should be 'Rankl'; Karl Rankl was musical director of the Covent Garden Opera Company at this time.

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Typewritten, signed