Annie Bernard (1880, 1883-84, 1886-95)

[Born Bradford, Yorkshire c.1860, died May 1933]

Contralto Annie Bernard first appeared in D'Oyly Carte programmes in 1880 on tour with with Carte's "D" Company. She was a chorus member who played Matilda McWhirter in the B. T. Hughes/P. W. Halton curtain raiser Six and Six, and in December 1880 briefly took over as Lady Sangazure in The Sorcerer from Madge Stavart. She may have toured with Carte's No. 1 "Pirates" Company in 1882 (see entry for Alma Bernard). In 1883 she was on tour with the No. 1 "Patience" Company, again in the chorus and again appearing in the Hughes/Halton operetta, now identified in the programme as Matrimony!!! Or, Six and Six where Suited!, and with her character's name now appearing as Matilda McTavish. The following year, with Carte's "E" Company, she appeared, at least briefly, as the Lady Angela in Patience.

We lose track of her now until August 1886 when, as a Savoy chorister and understudy, she went on for Rosina Brandram as Katisha in The Mikado. She appears to have remained in London over the several years, as chorister in Ruddigore, and then filling in for Brandram again as Dame Carruthers in The Yeomen of the Guard in August 1889, and creating a role of Inez in The Gondoliers in December of that year.

She played Inez at the Savoy until April 1891, when she was given the opportunity to play the principal contralto roles on the road with "E" Company. She appeared as the Queen of the Fairies in Iolanthe, Katisha in The Mikado, and the Duchess of Plaza-Toro in The Gondoliers in repertoire through December when she transferred to Carte's Company "B." She remained with "B" Company as their principal contralto until the end of her D'Oyly Carte career in July 1895. During her tenure with them she played Dame Carruthers, the Duchess of Plaza-Toro, Katisha, Widow Jackson in the companion piece Captain Billy, Widow Merton in The Vicar of Bray, Lady Vernon in Haddon Hall, Lady Jane in Patience, Lady Sophy in Utopia Limited, Little Buttercup in H.M.S. Pinafore, and Inez de Roxas in The Chieftain.

In 1931 the Gilbert & Sullivan Society was raising funds in aid of Leonora Braham, who was living in poverty and ill-health.It was discovered that Annie Bernard was in similar difficulty, and Miss Braham requested that a portion of the funds raised in her behalf be devoted to the assistance of her colleague.Annie Bernard died in May 1933.

Page created August 27, 2001 © 2001 David Stone