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Noël Coward – A Talent to Amuse

A playlist dedicated to Noël Coward, the first Brit pop star, the first ambassador of cool Britannia.

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‘People are wrong when they say opera is not what it used to be. It is what it used to be. That is what’s wrong with it.’

So says Gilda, from Noël Coward’s  play ‘Design for Living’. These were not the views of the writer. Indeed it was Coward who suggested to Dame Joan Sutherland and Richard Bonynge that the buy the villa next door, to share the spectacular view that Coward described as ‘an absolutely ravishing tax advantage’. Coward was a lifelong fan of the artform.

Noël Pierce Coward was a jack of all the entertainment trades and the master of most. By 1930 the lyricist, dramatist, writer, composer, painter and wit was the highest earning author in the western world. When he died in 1973 he left behind more than fifty plays and twenty films as writer, director and/or star, a ballet, hundreds of songs, two autobiographies, a novel, a thirty year diary, several volumes of short stories and countless poems, sketches, paintings as well as the memories of three generations of playgoers across the world.

IMDb, the Internet Movie Database, positions Noel Coward as “the first Brit pop star, the first ambassador of cool Britannia”. Grab your dressing gown and have a listen to this playlist featuring artists including Coward himself, Gertrude Lawrence, Judy Garland, Kenneth Williams, Sutton Foster, June Bronhill and of course Dame Joan Sutherland.

A final word from The Master: “You ask my advice about acting? Speak clearly, don’t bump into the furniture and if you must have motivation, think of your pay packet on Friday.”