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Appendix 2 -- What is A Savoyard?


David Duffey observed: I'm not quite THAT elderly, and I would not presume to describe myself as a Savoyard. Harriet Meyer replied to this: If not you, who?!

And David Duffey responded: Sincere thanks to Harriet - who not only says she means well, but matches actions to words; HOWEVER she does raise an interesting point - not unusually in her case. Gilbert defined Savoyards as those who had played at The Savoy or Opera Comique in original runs or revivals during his lifetime. Few if any remain. The term has perhaps been extended to those who performed with the (old) D'Oyly Carte. I did in fact audition for the D'Oyly Carte when I was younger. I was at the time a police officer in Sunny Woolwich, SE London. I was called for audition by telegram at 6 p.m. for 11 a.m. the following day at The Savoy. I was on night duty, could not get time off, and as it happens had two front teeth knocked out, plus a black eye and a fat lip administered during that night as the consequence of a disagreement between some Irish navies and some squaddies (conscripted men in the Army). I appeared at court at 10 am and explained to the magistrate (one E R Guest, whose obituary appeared only a few days ago) that I had another call on my time. He sent me on my way with his good wishes, but, as he said, "but little hope". I made the Savoy only half an hour late and sang "Madamina" in English translation. I was rejected out of hand. False pride prevented me from asking for another audition. I am not trying to make excuses. I probably would have failed anyway; I now realize that I was not as good a performer as I used to think I was. The point I am labouring to make is that the only people who could properly call themselves 'Savoyards' on our net are: well, no-one. Possibly Peter Parker by association and or course Peg, if as Peter Zavon says, she does join us. PS: I was not very good as a policeman - I only joined as an expression of youthful rebellion and as a way of avoiding National Service - and soon unjoined the force.

As did Peter Zavon: In the US, the term "Savoyard" generally means a person intensely interested in, and perhaps highly knowledgeable about, the works of Gilbert and Sullivan. However, in the UK, the term may be used to refer exclusively to those who have performed G&S at the Savoy and/or with the original D'Oyly Carte Company. Sometimes the context implies a reference only to those who worked under the direction of the authors themselves.

And Gerry Howe: Is a Savoyard specifically a member of the D'OC? My impression (but subject to expert correction) is that it can mean anyone who takes part in, or enjoys, Savoy opera. (Oh dear, I can feel another thread coming on!) And I did mean the over-eighties - such as the nonagenarian who came to Buxton from Somerset on Friday! - by no means your good self.


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