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D'Oyly Carte Opera Orchestra

D'Oyly Carte Opera Orchestra

In 1877, Richard D'Oyly Carte formed ‘The Comedy Opera Company’, opening at the Opera Comique Theatre in November, 1877 with The Sorcerer, by William Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan. With the success of this work and, the later, H.M.S. Pinafore (1878) ‘The Comedy Opera Company’ flourished. In July, 1879, upon the expiry of the investors’ contracts, the ownership passed entirely to Carte and, thus, the name was changed to ‘Mr R. D’Oyly Carte’s Opera Company’. By 1881, after the success of The Pirates of Penzance (1880), the enterprise had become so lucrative, Carte was able to build his own theatre, The Savoy, to where Patience (1881) was re-located half way through its run.

The next ten years brought continued success to ‘The D’Oyly Carte Opera Company’ with the Savoy Operas Iolanthe (1882), Princess Ida (1884), The Mikado (1885), Ruddigore (1887), The Yeomen of the Guard (1888) and The Gondoliers (1889). Unfortunately the close and constant collaboration between composer and librettist finally took its toll in 1891 with an argument sparked by a carpet, but encompassing the full extent of the differences between Gilbert and Sullivan. This marked the beginning of the end and they only produced two more works, Utopia Limited (1893) and The Grand Duke (1896), neither of which ever became firm favourites nor was particularly successful.




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