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The D'Oyly Carte Dynasty

Richard D'Oyly Carte

Richard D'Oyly Carte was born on 3rd May 1844 in London. His father, Richard Carte, was a flautist and musical instrument manufacturer. The "D'Oyly", a Norman French name, came from his mother's side of the family. He remains a shadowy figure in the background of the Gilbert, Sullivan, and Carte partnership. Little about his life or personality is known. Yet Richard D'Oyly Carte was a man of extraordinary vision, a talented musician and his business acumen set up a company which made him a richer man than his partners. He died on 3rd April 1901.

Helen D'Oyly Carte was Richard's second wife and one of the most remarkable of Victorian businesswomen. When his health failed in his latter years, she oversaw every detail of their far-flung organization, eventually giving up the management of the Savoy Theatre in 1909 when she herself began to be in poor health.

After Helen Carte's death in 1913, control of the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company, as it was later styled, passed to Rupert D'Oyly Carte (1876–1948), a son of Carte's first marriage, and then to Rupert's daughter Bridget D'Oyly Carte (1908–1985). The company continued under the family's management, but with a final change of name to the D'Oyly Carte Trust, until 1982.


The D'Oyly Carte Opera Company


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