The D’Oyly Carte Opera Company, founded by Richard D’Oyly Carte in the 1870′s and with a 130 year old tradition of performing the Comic Operas of Gilbert and Sullivan for 130 years has announced that they will return to production in 2013 after a ten year hiatus.
THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE will be staged as a co-production with Scottish Opera during their 2012/13 Season in May and June of 2013.
The D’Oyly Carte Opera Music Director, John Owen Edwards will conduct, the production will be directed by Martin Lloyd-Evans, designed by Jamie Vartan and choreographed by Steve Elias.
The production opens at the Theatre Royal, Glasgow on Wednesday 15th May 2013, and will also be seen at His Majesty’s Theatre Aberdeen, The Festival Theatre Edinburgh, and the Eden Court Theatre Inverness.
Additional performances in the UK are in the planning stages.
The D’Oyly Carte Opera Company has had a chequered career since the Centenary Season at the Savoy Theatre in 1975. Rising costs caused the Company to be disbanded and close in 1982. Following the death of Bridget D’Oyly Carte (the granddaughter of Richard D’Oyly Carte) in 1985, the company received a legacy of £1,000,000 from her estate, which together with secured new sponsorship enabled the Company to reform in 1988. New productions of IOLANTHE and THE YEOMAN OF THE GUARD toured nationally, and over the next 5 years new productions of THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE, THE MIKADO, TRIAL BY JURY, HMS PINAFORE, and THE GONDOLIERS were also added.
In 1993 the repertoire was extended to include non-Gilbert and Sullivan works including ORPHEUS IN THE UNDERWORLD, DIE FLEDERMAUS, LA VIE PARISIENNE, and THE COUNT OF LUXEMBOURG.
Between 1990 and 1997 the Company was based in the Midlands, but returned to London in 1998. Then followed 2 successful seasons of Gilbert and Sullivan at the Royal Festival Hall and a highly successful production of PIRATES at the Queen’s Theatre in Shaftesbury Avenue in the West End at Christmas 1998.
In February of 2000, the Company returned to it’s spiritual home - the Savoy Theatre with a production of HMS PINAFORE. This was followed by productions of THE MIKADO (Directed by Ian Judge and designed by Tim Goodchild), PIRATES (directed and designed by the Australian team of Stuart Maunder and Roger Kirk), IOLANTHE, THE YEOMAN OF THE GUARD and finally their last staged work, HMS PINAFORE which ran through to March in 2003, when the Company was again in financial difficulty and forced to close again.
The Savoy Hotel Group, including the Savoy Theatre was sold to Quinlan Private in 2004 and has changed hands several times since.
It is exciting to see the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company treading the boards again, even though it may not be in their spiritual home. Perhaps co-productions with opera companies such as Scottish Opera will be a more successful model to follow to keep the performance traditions and spirit of the Company alive.