Opera Scotland

Utopia Limited 1894Mr R D'Oyly Carte's 'A' Touring Company

Read more about the opera Utopia, Limited

This small-scale company touring less metropolitan venues was entirely typical of how D'Oyly Carte's management style spread his famous product round the nation. This involved soloists augmenting the small chorus as required, and piano accompaniment. The tour visited some major venues, such as the new theatre in Paisley and the City Hall in Perth (before neighbouring Dundee or Aberdeen, with their modern No1 touring theatres, had seen the full-scale production). It also included single or two night viisits to smaller communities such as Peterhead, Montrose and Cupar. Settings were inevitably much simpler than those prepared for Glasgow and Edinburgh.

As with similar ventures operated today by Scottish Opera, the company frequently featured young artists who were tried out in what must have been stressful touring conditions, even with the wonderful railway network that had been attained by the last decade of the century. Of this cast, the names W H Leon and Louie René represent young artists who quickly graduated to prominent stage careers.

Cast and performance details have been assembled from Glasgow Herald,  Dundee Courier and Aberdeen Journal.  No doubt there are further dates to be established.


The View from Tayside

Dundee Courier:  Tuesday, 16 October 1894  (p3)

Utopia, Limited, in Perth

'Perth, apparently more favoured than Dundee, in matters operatic, last night enjoyed in the City Hall a performance of the latest, and we presume we must say the last, Gilbert and Sullivan opera, Utopia, Limited.  The company was Mr D'Oyly Carte's ''A,''  and the performance was throughout excellent.  The clever dialogue, bright as might be expected from Mr Gilbert's pen, and full of up-to-date satire, was immensely enjoyed, while Sir Arthur Sullivan's music, graceful and droll,  such as none but he can write,  was equally appreciated.

'Although the company was small, each of the parts was well cast.  Miss Marion Gray sang delightfully and acted with consummate chic as Princess Zara, and Miss Alice Pennington as Nekayah played with the true spirit of comedy, and sang and danced with delightful grace.  Miss Louie René looked the part of the stately English governess to perfection, and sang her great song, ''When But a Maid of Fifteen Years,'' with exquisite expression.  Miss Millicent Pyne as Kalybah acted sweetly, and Miss Edith Quarry sang delightfully.

'The important part of King Paramount was played by Mr Frank Danby with much humour, and the two Judges, Scaphio and Phantis, represented by Messrs W H Leon and Buchanan Wake respectively,  were most amusing personages.  Their songs and dances and the crispness with which they spoke their dialogue were equally well enjoyed.  Mr J H Poskitt acted very brightly as Tarara, the Public Exploder, and Mr S Wilson was excellent as Calynx.  Mr W A Peterkin, in the capital part of Mr Goldbury, displayed a most delightful voice and a cultured style of singing, and he was warmly encored for his ''English Girl'' song.

'Mr Gater appeared as Captain Fitzbattleaxe instead of Mr Ralland, and sang very prettily, while Mr Walter Rose as Lord Dramaleigh,  Mr L C Thorburn as Captain Sir Edward Corcoran, KCB, Mr Avon Hastings as Sir Baillie Barre, QC, and Mr G Paulton as Mr Blushington, of the County Council, all did well.The chorus, if not large, was attractive and powerful, and the choruses, in which the principals, we noticed, loyally lent their aid, all went well.

'The only accompaniment was that of the piano, and the performer did not seem too familiar with his work, and, in fact, there was a frequent want of accord in time between him and the singers.  The scenery and dresses were all admirable, and the performance seemed to be much appreciated by the audience.' 

Performance Cast

Princess Nekaya Second Daughter of King Paramount

Alice Pennington

Princess Kalyba Youngest Daughter of King Paramount

Millicent Pyne

Bessie Graves (Nov 10)

Phylla a Utopian Maiden

Edith Quarry

Scaphio a Judge of the Utopian Supreme Court

Mr W H Leon

Phantis a Judge of the Utopian Supreme Court

Buchanan Wake

Tarara the Public Exploder

Mr J H Poskit

Calynx the Utopian Vice-Chamberlain

Mr S Wilson

Lady Sophy an English Gouvernante

Louie René

King Paramount the First King of Utopia

Frank Danby

Princess Zara Eldest Daughter of King Paramount

Marion Grey

Captain FitzBattleaxe First Life Guards

Herbert Ralland

Mr Gater (Oct 15)

Lord Dramaleigh a British Lord Chamberlain

Walter Rose

Mr Goldbury a Company Promoter, later Comptroller of Utopian Household

Mr H A Peterkin

Captain Sir Edward Corcoran, KCB of the Royal Navy

Mr L C Thorburn

Sir Bailey Barre, QC, MP a Barrister and Politician

Avon Hastings

Mr Blushington of the County Council

Mr G Paulton

Production Cast

Conductor & Pianist

Mr J Relf

Performance DatesUtopia Limited 1894

Map List

Paisley Theatre | Paisley

1 Oct, 19.30

City Hall, Perth | Perth

15 Oct, 19.30

Music Hall, Peterhead | Peterhead, Aberdeenshire

29 Oct, 19.30

Assembly Hall, Montrose | Montrose

30 Oct, 19.30 31 Oct, 19.30

Corn Exchange, Cupar | Cupar, Fife

10 Nov, 19.30

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