‘Beethoven telephoned to say that the key change in Don’t Cry for Me Argentina was like a message from God himself’
I had originally intended to write my autobiography as a single, slim volume. But then I remembered how marvellous I had been throughout my life and have ended up with a 500-page doorstop that judders to a halt with the first night of Phantom of the Opera, my record-breaking musical of 1986 about which no less a talent than Mozart was moved to write: “Andrew Lloyd Webber is a genius.”
I grew up in South Kensington. By the age of eight, many of my teachers considered me to be a prodigy. My essay on Victorian churches won several global prizes and the opera I composed for the school play was premiered at the Royal Albert Hall, with Arturo Toscanini, no less, conducting. Afterwards I was lucky enough to converse with Sergei Prokofiev whom I consider to be the 20th century’s greatest melodist. Present company excepted, of course.