Wednesday, October 23, 2019

D'Oyly Carte players, or, who were those folk ...?

I'm back midst the green, green grass of Gerolstein. And it has rained practically the whole week since I arrived.  Never mind, I have a new computer, I-pad and phone to work my way into and around ... so, plenty to do.

Well, 6 days, and I haven't got further than the computer. But I've waded through the thousand irrelevant bells and whistles, and more or less got it running in the way that a normal person would wish it to, and have been testing it on some little exercises. Well, you know, making sure it can do what *I* want it to do ...

So I picked a handful of D'Oyly Carte company artists of the 19th century of whom little appears to be known, and tried to sort them out ...  without more ado, here are my findings ...

VAUDREY, Adeline [née MOULD, Adeline] (b Southampton 1863; d London 1926)
Miss Mould, daughter of butcher Thomas Mould and his wife Emma (née Berry) was born in Hampshire, apparently raised in Jarrow, and married, at the age sixteen, to one John Rorie Friend 'commercial traveller', and put briskly into foal. Ruby era was born in 1880, followed by Pearl Eugenie and Beryl Adeline ..  Only then did Mrs Friend start appearing in public as a vocalist. I spot her, first, in 1888 singing in a ballad concert at the Victoria Hall. 'Madame Adeline Vaudrey'. Vaudrey? Well, it was a known musical name on the south coast, so maybe she was related. Over the next years she can be seen in concert at Walthamstow, Chingford, Hastings ... with a few weeks out play Tessa in The Gondoliers on tour.  But. then, back to babies and the Epping Forest Musical Society, the Hastings Pier Concerts, the Witham Cricket Club, Walton-on-the-Naze, the Dover Catch Club, Mr Broughton Black's Gilbert and Sullivan concerts, and his attempt at an operetta (Constancy 7 June 1892, Sudbury). She sang with the G&S concerts on a wee tour, then with W H Burgon's opera concerts, and took a swift trip to South Africa, where she played the title-role in Marjorie alongside the Alicia of Leonora Braham, and, back home, after many more Pier concerts, took part in Willie Edouin's The Babes at the Strand Theatre.

In 1895 she deputised for Jessie Bond in His Excellency, and subsequently toured in the same role, before joining the Carte organisation. Over the next five years she played the soprano (and later the mezzo) roles in virtually the whole of the Savoy canon. In 1902 she, seemingly, retired.
In the 1911 census I see that husband has become a coal merchant's agent. Ruby is married (Mrs Ernest Budd) and the other two girls are still at home ...
He died in 1924, and she, it seems, in 1926.
Good career. I wonder why it is not anywhere documented. Or is it?

LAMBETH, Florence [Elizabeth] (b Blythswood, Glasgow 11 March 1865; d Pollok, Glasgow 1943)
Scottish mezzo-soprano Florence Lambeth had a good career, but only short one with the Carte companies. Born in Glasgow, the daughter a well-known musician Henry Albert Lambeth and his wife Harriet née Duckworth, Florence made an early start as a singer in concerts in Scotland. In 1885 she joined the Carte companyas a principal, but, before long, was whisked to London's Gaiety Theatre, where she created the part of Phyllis Tuppitt in the original Dorothy.  She subsequently toured in the role of Bianca in La Béarnaise, before joining first the Rousbey Opera tour, and then the similar Turner company (Zerlina in Don Giovanni, Martha in Faust, Gianetta in L'Elisir d'amore, Alice in Robin Hood, Anne Chute in Lily of Killarney, Lisa in La Sonnambula, Countess in La Fille du régiment, Nancy in Martha) with which she would play for a number of years. Latterly, from about 1895, she returned to Scotland (with a brief visit to South Africa, as a ballad singer in variety), where she was to be heard in concert and stage productions (For Bonnie Scotland, The Invasion of Britain, pantomimes) into the earliest years of the 20th century.

ROWLANDS, Owen] J[ones] [aka GWYNNE, Hugh] (b Tal-y-Bont, Conway, Wales c 1853; d Transvaal  1920)
Rowlands was born in Conway, the eldest son of Hugh Jones, 'chemist of High Street, Bridgnorth' and his wife Margaret. He seems to have worked as an inspector for the Parish Council while building himself a fine reputation as a bass singer in concerts in Liverpool and Wales, taking a leading part in the productions of the Liverpool Opera Society and working as a choir soloist at St Xavier's Church, Liverpool. He was engaged by the Carte company to go to America as a replacement in the role of Antonio in The Gondoliers, and his letters home were reported in the Wrexham press. On his return (23 April 1890) he appeared in concert (Toreador's song, 'Fetters of Gold', Mikado's Song, 'Little List','Tit Willow', 'Quite English, You Know') and played a five-weeks season in Dublin (January 1891), deputising for Arthur Rousbey in his touring opera company. He was recalled by Rousbey to sing Don Jose in Maritana the same March-April.
When Dorothy was revived for a fortnight at the Trafalgar Square Theatre, he was in the company, and deputised for Furneaux Cook as Squire Bantam, playing under the name of 'Hugh Gwynne'. He played in Under the Clock at the Court Theatre, toured with Albert Chevalier, sang at St Mary's Church and at venues such as the Ryde Pier Pavilion, before he was hired to sing Wagner in Faust with Fanny Moody and Charles Manners. In 1897, he was engaged for Ernest Searelle's South African musical comedy company (Hercules Hawser in The French Maid, Tuppitt in Dorothy, Sam Snug in Bonnie Boy Blue, Matheo in La Mascotte, Don Jose in Maritana &c) ... and he seems to have not returned to Britain. His death was reported from Transvaal in 1920.
Rowlands was married in 1877 to Jane Jones who seems to have died at the birth of her son, Percival Hugh (1879-1931).

GROSVENOR, Beatrice [GRAVEUR, Beatrice Lucy Maud] (b 7 Duke Street, Aldgate 1859; d 4 Smart's Tce, Camberwell 1935)

The daughter of a certain Joseph Louis Graveur (1827-1895) and his wife Emma née Dunn (d 8 October 1899), Beatrice had a bumpy childhood. At the age of three, she was (briefly) stolen by a gipsy girl, at the age of five father eloped to the other side of the Atlantic. Things didn't, apparently, get much better when she wed a Mr Walter Goodbody, at twenty-one. I have no idea who he was or what he did, but he seems to have vanished pretty smartly and permanently. Beatrice (ka Maud, but the Lady Beatrice Grosvenor was a current social figure) joined the D'Oyly Carte touring troupes soon after her marriage, and over the next five years played supporting roles is several tours. In 1886, she went briefly on the music-halls under the name of 'Maud Graveur', but soon reverted to her nom de théâtre, for what was to be a colourful career of some thirty years, during which she played in comic opera (Doris), musical comedy (Nemesis, The Shop Girl), burlesque (Micaela in Carmen up to Data), pantomime, religious drama (Dame Gossip in The Pilgrim's Progress), melodrama (The Lights of London), in increasingly character roles, ending with similar parts, in later years, in the silent films. She also visited the Continent with the Carmen up to Data company, South America and later India, China and Java in musical comedy, and South Africa with the Wheeler and Lockwood combination (Seraphine Plimmer in Regina BA etc). 

FRYTH, Edwyn [FRITH, William Edwin] (b Kingston, Surrey 14 October 1853; d unknown)
Poor Mr Frith. Poor 'Edwyn Frith Esq RAM'. I've bumped into him frequently over recent decades, struggling manfully, over a dozen years or so, to make himself a worthy place in the music world. He never did. Edwin was the son of a Yorkshireman, Edwin Frith: a grocer and tea-seller, and his wife Jane Batty née Mapplebeck (m Aston 22 April 1848), who eventually made their home in Plympton. 
He may have attended the Royal Academy. Maybe that is where he met contralto Lucy Caroline Weylland, daughter of a director of the Royal Polytechnic, who became 'Madame Edwyn Frith'. But he first appears to my eyes in 1877, singing at a not very grand Scots concert at the Albert Hall and at Emily Mott's concert. And then he was hired to sing Bob Beckett in the touring Pinafore company. Alas, poor Edwyn, he doesn't seem to have been hired again. He/they got the odd concert engagement (where Lucy was generally better like than her baritone husband), so Edwyn set up his own concert party, travelling from Falmouth to Barnstaple to Camelford with a programme including a fair dash of G&S. They stuck at it doggedly, rising to dates such as Scarborough, Brighton, Bath, Margate ... and advertising for pupils, whom they presented in an 1883 concert at 'the new room St James's Hall'.  In 1885 they presented themselves at a private home in Park Lane, advertising the gimmick of the moment, the Ammoniaphone. 
In the same year, Edwyn presented concert by 'The Rising Artists society'. Tickets, gratis, from him at Oxford Mansions but 'only those of good addresses need apply'. They didn't rise, and he re-christened his venture 'The International Artists Society'. The press raised an eyebrow, as they had when he had billed himself 'the 'well-known' baritone'. In 1890, a rather sad advertisement appeared in The Musical Times, seeking engagements, and averring that the couple has sung sixty times that year at St James's Hall. As choristers, I would guess ...
And then .. father died in 1891, the couple's six-year-old daughter in 1893, mother Jane in 1899 ... but Edwyn and Lucy? Jane named Edwyn's sister as her executor ... why not her son? Did they, too, die? I checked Fryth and Frythe ... did they emigrate? I don't know. Poor Mr Frith. And Madame too ... they would sing ... well, maybe they were happy. Let's hope so.

DAGMAR, Carola [EDMAN, Dagmar Charlotta] (b Stockholm 7 July 1865; d New Jersey June 1957)
Miss Dagmar's career with the D'Oyly Carte Opera was brief, and consisted of appearances in the country and London in what must have seemed a suitable role: Julia Jellicoe in The Grand Duke. For Mlle Dagmar was semi-Swedish. Born in that country to a local father, Frans Bernard Edman and an English mother, Sara Susannah Shirley (b England 1 December 1835; d Paris 1901), she was taken to America, aged 16, after her father's death. However she returned to Europe, to Paris, to study singing with Beer, and is said to have made a debut at the Stockholm Opera House. As what and exactly when isn't clear. However, the Stockholm opera didn't keep her and she turns up, some months later, in England (1892) singing in the odd small suburban and provincial concert (Ipswich, Colchester, Leamington Spa). She was then engaged by Augustus Harris for an operatic season at Drury Lane where she sang Micaela to the Carmen of Pauline Joran, and for the company's subsequent tour (Lola in Cavalleria rusticana, Baucis in Philemon and Baucis, and Marguerite in Les Huguenots which was adjudged beyond her capacities). When Harris returned to Drury Lane she was given Siebel in Faust. And there her operatic career, seemingly, ended. But her biggest headline was yet to come. She had been having an affair with the composer of Erminie, Edward Jakobowski, and when he broke it off and married someone else she sued him for Breach of Promise. The case got her more noticed than she had been as a singer. She continued on to the engagement in The Grand Duke, but then left Britain for Paris and Monte Carlo where she was occasionally seen in a concert. She subsequently returned to America, where her remaining family still lived, and died there at the age of 91.

Oh, I have lots more of these ... chorus girl Sophie Farqhuarson who married the odd William Orange Billington, who apparently laid a daughter, Margaret (later a music-hall performer) on her, then vanished ..  the Kleine sisters, [Janette] Antoinette (1859-1931) and Lisi Matilda (Mrs Norris 1861-1941) ...  Irishman Richard Purdon (c 1851-1916) who ended up as an actor in America ...  Ella Maude Haigh from Newlay, Yorks whose divorce and extra-curricular activities filled more newspaper centimetres than her singing ... Robert Collison Whitehouse (b Leamington 13 October 1876; d Carshalton 21 March 1961), who came to the Carte company from amateur concerts in his home town and spent time as an (occasional?) actor in America, and afterwards a 'publisher' in England ... the Werdemann girls, Alice Magdalena Johanna (b Mannheim, Mrs Dr William Boyter Johnson) and Margaretta Olga Isidore (b Prussia, Mrs Daniel Federico Antonio Grimwood) who were front row chorines for several years ... 

But, for now, that suffices. You see, the people behind those names did have faces, and lives ...

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