‘Opera cannot play the role of a casual visitor in the life of a nation. Wherever opera has flourished, it has been accepted as an important factor in the nation’s spiritual life. Every effort has been made to give it a permanent place among the activities of the human spirit, which are the justification of our civilization. The action on the stage in an opera must be intelligible to the public, or the music will fail to hold their interest. Opera in England therefore, must be sung in English. Only then will it be possible for the whole audience to be united… and to experience, as in the theatre, the emotions of the drama.’
Egon Wellesz: from three lectures on opera delivered at The Royal College of Music, London in 1950