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From 1972 to 1997 he conducted ten operas some of them in several seasons. Gordon Parry the Decca engineer who worked with Solti and Culshaw on the Ring recordings observed "Many people have said 'Oh well of course John Culshaw made Solti. He benefited from the encouragement of the elderly Richard Strauss in whose presence he conducted Der Rosenkavalier.
During his time with the Chicago orchestra he also had shorter spells in charge of the Orchestre de Paris and the London Philharmonic Orchestra. Under his musical directorship the status of the company was recognised with the grant of the title "the Royal Opera". He became a British subject in 1972.