D'Oyly Carte Makes Four with HMS Pinafore ReturnDate: 15 July 2002
The D'Oyly Carte Opera Company continues its current West End residency - which began in February at the company's spiritual home, the Savoy Theatre - with the return of Gilbert & Sullivan's HMS Pinafore. The company, which is dedicated to the works of Gilbert and Sullivan, began its current West End stint in February with productions of Iolanthe and The Yeomen of the Guard, followed by The Mikado, starring comedian Jasper Carrott, which continues until 14 September 2002.
HMS Pinafore will have a limited season at the Savoy from 18 December 2002 (previews from 13 December) until 1 March 2003. The D'Oyly Carte production was last seen in London when it had a six-week engagement at the theatre in 2000. It, along with D'Oyly Carte's previous outing for The Mikado, was nominated for last year's Olivier Award for Outstanding Musical Production.
The popular operetta was first seen in 1878, when it ran at the West End's Aldwych Theatre for nearly two years. The humorous look at class relations is presented through the story of a humble sailor, Ralph, who has found out that the First Lord of the Admiralty, Sir Joseph Porter, is his rival for the hand of the captain's daughter in marriage. The score includes 'When I Was a Lad', 'I'm Called Little Buttercup' and 'For He Is an Englishman'.
In 1876 Richard D'Oyly Carte formed the Comedy Opera Company and the following year produced The Sorcerer, his first collaboration with Gilbert and Sullivan. The ensuing success of their partnership enabled D'Oyly Carte to build the Savoy Theatre in 1882. It was the first public building to be lit throughout by electricity. The theatre was virtually destroyed by fire in 1990 but, after extensive refurbishments, it reopened in 1993.
The D'Oyly Carte Company continues to be dedicated to producing faithful recreations of the Savoy Operas of Gilbert & Sullivan. Casting for HMS Pinafore has not yet been confirmed, nor have details of what, if anything will fill the Savoy's three-month autumn gap from 15 September to 13 December 2002.
- by Terri Paddock