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Exclusive: D’Oyly Carte to return after decade away

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D’Oyly Carte Opera Company is to be revived ten years after it suspended its producing activity, The Stage can reveal.

The company, famed for its Gilbert and Sullivan operas, stopped producing work in 2003 after it was unable to secure funding to enable it to continue.

Since then it has operated a music hire library, which supplies the orchestral parts for Gilbert and Sullivan operas to professional and amateur societies.

Next year, however, the company will return as co-producer of a new staging of Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance.

The production, which is being staged in partnership with Scottish Opera, will star Gilbert and Sullivan stalwart Steven Page, and will open in Scotland before D’Oyly Carte tours the show around the UK.

John Owen Edwards, who was D’Oyly Carte’s musical director before it suspended its activity, is on board as musical director of the new production.

A spokeswoman for Scottish Opera confirmed the production is happening, but said full details will not be released until May. D’Oyly Carte could not be reached for a comment.

Stage critic Mark Shenton said: “The ongoing theatrical vitality and appeal of Gilbert and Sullivan is regularly demonstrated by successes like the tiny Union Theatre’s forays with its all-male productions, so the return of the company devoted solely to their work is a cause for celebration and hopefully reinvention.”

The opera company was formed by Richard D’Oyly in 1878, although this incarnation of the organisation closed in 1982. It was reformed in 1988 and presented Gilbert and Sullivan productions until 2003, including HMS Pinafore in March of that year. Since then, a statement on the company’s website has read: “D’Oyly Carte has no immediate plans for performances in the near future, although it is hoped that some projects, which may involve performances on some scale, may come into effect at some point soon.”

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