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Geoffrey Toye (1889 - 1942)

Geoffrey Toye’s career centred round his activities as a conductor. Born in Winchester, he studied at the Royal College of Music in London. After serving in the first world war he returned to conducting, first with D’Oyly Carte Opera Company and subsequently at the Old Vic and Sadler’s Wells. Toye’s affinity with the theatre was to continue throughout his career, but he also was in demand as a conductor of symphonic music, giving the first performance of Vaughan WilliamsA London Symphony in 1919.

He took on increasing administrative duties, including a spell as managing director of the Royal Opera House Company, and his composition and arranging often came as a spin-off to his conducting and administrative work. For the revival of the Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Ruddigore in 1921, for which he was responsible, he rewrote the overture (the original not being Sullivan’s own). Having returned to D’Oyley Carte Opera he adapted, produced and conducted the film version of The Mikado in 1939. He also wrote a radio operetta The Red Pen, with words by A.P. Herbert. There were also two ballets. The first was for Ninette de Valois’ Douanes.



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