Cynthia Morey as Yum-Yum in The Mikado

Cynthia Morey (1951-57)

[Born Southsea, Hampshire]

Cynthia Morey trained at the Royal College of Music and appeared with amateur Gilbert & Sullivan companies before joining the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company chorus in April 1951. During the next three-and-a-half seasons she took over the small parts of Celia in Iolanthe (September 1951) Fiametta in The Gondoliers (1953-54), and Sacharissa in Princess Ida (September 1954). Sacharissa was the only part she recorded with the Company (in 1955). She also understudied Muriel Harding and Tatiana Preston in principal soprano parts, going on on occasion as Mabel in The Pirates of Penzance, Patience in Patience, Phyllis in Iolanthe, Rose Maybud in Ruddigore, and Gianetta in The Gondoliers. She filled in for Kathleen West as the Plaintiff in Trial by Jury during the 1953-54 season.

When Miss Preston and Victoria Sladen left the Company in December 1954 Cynthia Morey was promoted to principal soprano, assuming Miss Preston's roles as Phyllis in Iolanthe, Yum-Yum in The Mikado, and Rose Maybud in Ruddigore, and taking Lady Psyche in Princess Ida while Muriel Harding moved up to the title role. In January 1957 Miss Morey added Patience in Patience when the Company launched a new production of that opera. She left the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company in May 1957.

She briefly appeared in pantomime, then joined the Sadler's Wells Opera Company, taking several named parts including Leila in the Company's January 1962 production of Iolanthe. She may be heard as Leila on the Sadler's Wells 1962 recording of Iolanthe. While with the Sadler's Wells organization she toured Australia and New Zealand in The Merry Widow and Orpheus in the Underworld, in a cast that included John Fryatt. She subsequently appeared in several West End musicals (Robert and Elizabeth, Fiddler on the Roof, Gone With the Wind, Can-Can, Anything Goes), worked with several provincial repertory companies, and performed in music hall at the Players' Theatre. She has directed many shows, both professional and amateur.

Miss Morey rejoined the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company, albeit reluctantly, as wardrobe supervisor in 1980, serving in that capacity until the following year, when she went to Canada to appear in My Fair Lady. At the time of her appointment she was Vice-President of the Gilbert & Sullivan Society, and had served as an advisor to the Westard television program The Pirates of The Pirates of Penzance. The part of Ruth in that production was written especially for her.

In 1985 she appeared in London at the Adelphi Theatre in Me and My Girl. In 1986, she collaborated with John Fryatt in the writing of a "Gilbert & Sullivan pantomime" entitled The Sleeping Beauty of Savoy, which Miss Morey produced in January 1987 at the Garrick Playhouse, Altringham, and later at the Oast Theatre, Tonbridge.

More recently, Miss Morey authored a book of reminiscences, "Inclined to Dance and Sing: A D'Oyly Carte Journal of the 1950s" (Prospero Books, 1998). A sequel, "A Set of Curious Chances" (Prospero Books, 2001), deals with her post-D'Oyly Carte experiences. In 2006 she collaborated with John Reed on the latter's autobiography, "Nothing Whatever to Grumble At." In 2012 Cynthia Morey played Lottie Yates in the film Quartet, a comedy-drama directed by Dustin Hoffman.

Page modified February 24, 2013 © 2001-13 David Stone