'D'Oyly Carte: The Inside Story' looks at the life of the historic D'Oyly Carte Opera Company between 1950 and its sad demise in 1982. After thrilling audiences on both sides of the Atlantic from the time of Queen Victoria with its productions of Gilbert and Sullivan, the last great touring repertory company said farewell to its audiences after 107 years.
Although many books have been written about the company founded by Richard D'Oyly Carte in 1875, none has been from the perspective of its members. This book details the working life of every department of the famous company, from its London management to the wardrobe department, as told by Roberta Morrell, herself a performer with the company for 10 years. Having travelled all over the UK to interview her former colleagues, Roberta uses their stories and recollections to present an insight into the world of a theatre company on tour for 48 weeks of every year. Personal tales of travel, theatrical digs, mad-cap parties, on-stage disasters, overseas tours and glamorous occasions are told by singers, musicians, back-stage staff and senior managers proud to have been a part of the D'Oyly Carte story. Hilarious anecdotes are mingled with serious fact, from eccentric landladies of the 1950s, to the logistics of presenting a Royal Command Performance at Windsor Castle. Mix in a little intrigue over the ownership of the Savoy Hotel and you have an entertaining account of a unique theatrical institution that will appeal to any reader.
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I have just finished reading Roberta's fascinating and interesting book about the famous D'Oyly Carte Opera Company, which sadly closed in 1982. If you fancy a light hearted and easy read - this book is for you. It's full of anecdotes from the members of the Company. Stories about the fun the 'family' had touring together for 48 weeks a year. Pranks they played on each other on and off stage, the highs and lows of their touring lives, the stories of landladies they encountered, Royal Command performances, etc. If you enjoyed following the old D'Oyly Carte Opera Company - then you'll enjoy this book. I thoroughly recommend it to you.
by David Edwards