Raymond Gubbay

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Raymond Gubbay, CBE (born 2 April 1946)[1] is a impresario who has been at the forefront of promoting and producing opera, ballet and classical music in London, across the UK and around the world for over 50 years. He has worked with some of the most prestigious classical artists of our time including Anna Netrebko, Jonas Kaufmann, Bryn Terfel, Joseph Calleja, Rolando Villazon, Yehudi Menuhin, James Galway, Henry Mancini, Victor Borge and Kiri te Kanawa; in dance, he has co-produced seasons by New York City Ballet, Mark Morris Dance Group, Carlos Acosta, Sylvie Guillem, Bejart Ballet, Stuttgart Ballet and American Ballet Theatre.[2]

During a near thirty-year partnership with the Royal Albert Hall, he staged arena scale productions of La bohème, Tosca, Carmen, Aida and Madam Butterfly, plus Romeo and Juliet, The Sleeping Beauty and Swan Lake, in partnership with English National Ballet.

His hugely popular Christmas concerts have become an annual tradition in recent years although since he sold his company, the organisation of the Royal Albert Hall Christmas Festival has reverted to the Hall.[3] Having quickly decided that he did not relish retirement, he is now collaborating with West End producer, Edward Snape, on a joint venture and future plans include a three-week season by Barry Humphries with Meow Meow at the Barbican Theatre in July and a Christmas Season of Circus 1903 at the Royal Festival Hall [4][1]

Raymond Gubbay is an Honorary Fellow of both the Royal Academy of Music and Trinity College of Music, London and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. He was awarded a CBE in June 2001. He lives in London and France.

Early years[edit]

Gubbay was born in London. He grew up in a comfortable middle-class Jewish household of a fairly prosperous accountant. [2]. In 1966 he founded Raymond Gubbay Ltd and began presenting concerts with three or four singers and a pianist at small halls and theatres. He began promoting in London in 1968, first on South Bank (at the newly opened Queen Elizabeth Hall) and later at the Royal Festival Hall, and from the early 1970s at the Royal Albert Hall.

The opening of the Barbican Centre in 1982 allowed him to expand the number of London concerts and he is regarded as having helped the Barbican to establish itself at a difficult time after the opening. Among the well-known names he has worked with at the Barbican are Luciano Pavarotti, Kiri Te Kanawa, James Galway, Victor Borge, Ray Charles, Henry Mancini, Yehudi Menuhin, and all four London symphony orchestras. His "Teddy Bears" concerts introduced young children to the concert hall in an informal and light-hearted way. At the Royal Festival Hall, he has presented concerts including the four-concert Fiftieth Birthday series by violin virtuoso, Itzhak Perlman.

At the Royal Albert Hall, "Classical Spectacular" has enjoyed success with regular runs of six performances at a time, almost unheard of in the field of classical music, and over 150 sold-out performances during the last few years. The same successful formula has worked in all the major arenas around the country and abroad with audiences of 12,000 or more. A major tour of German and Swiss arenas took place in autumn 2005 with performances in Berlin, Hamburg, Cologne, Frankfurt, and Zurich. The 2006 schedule includes performances in Rotterdam, Vienna, Stuttgart, Munich, Leipzig, Melbourne and Sydney.

In December 1991 Raymond Gubbay presented the Royal Opera production of Turandot at Wembley Arena. More recently he has co-presented in-the-round opera and ballet productions at the Royal Albert Hall including La Bohème (directed by Francesca Zambello), Carmen, Madam Butterfly, Tosca, and Aida (all directed by David Freeman), Cavalleria Rusticana, and Pagliacci; and, with English National Ballet, Swan Lake, Romeo And Juliet and The Sleeping Beauty.

In London's West End, his productions include: The Ratepayers Iolanthe and The Metropolitan Mikado, Ute Lemper in seasons at the Queen's Theatre and the Savoy Theatre, Circus Oz and Bejart Ballet at Sadlers Wells, the Bolshoi Ballet at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company in several seasons of Gilbert and Sullivan at the Savoy Theatre, and Peter Pan, The Marriage of Figaro and The Barber of Seville at the Savoy. At the Royal Festival Hall he has presented seasons of Peter Pan, A Christmas Carol, Stanislavsky Ballet, Follies, On Your Toes and Circus Oz.

The annual Raymond Gubbay Ltd Christmas Festival features over 180 performances in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow and throughout the UK.

His tongue-in-cheek application to run the Royal Opera House in 2000 was greeted with scorn by the musical establishment but received remarkable heavyweight support in the press and elsewhere.

In 2008, DEAG Classics AG, a subsidiary of Deutsche Entertainment AG and Sony Music Classical, acquired a shareholding in Raymond Gubbay Ltd. In 2015, the company increased its stake in Raymond Gubbay Ltd from 75.1% to 100%.[5] Gubbay departed Raymond Gubbay Ltd in 2016, with plans to launch a new venture in the near future.[6]

On 28 October 2009 Gubbay was presented with a BASCA Gold Badge Award in recognition of his unique contribution to music.[7]


  1. ^ "Birthdays", The Guardian, p. 37, 2 April 2014 |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  2. ^ "Raymond Gubbay: Populist showman who likes the sound of success", The Independent, London, 12 September 2003.
  3. ^ "Classical Spectacular at the Royal Albert Hall: save £10". Evening Standard. Evening Standard. Retrieved 6 March 2018. |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
  4. ^ "Raymond Gubbay Christmas Festival 2017". Barbican Centre. Retrieved 6 March 2018. |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
  5. ^ "DEAG buys out Raymond Gubbay" http://www.rhinegold.co.uk/classical_music/archive-569/ Classical Music Magazine, 12 February 2015
  6. ^ "Raymond Gubbay reveals the real reason he quit his business". This is Money. Retrieved 2017-01-30.
  7. ^ https://www.theguardian.com/culture/2009/oct/28/gold-badge-awards-music-industry

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