Scott Russell as Lord Dramaleigh in Utopia, Limited

Scott Russell (1893-95, 1895-97, 1897-98, 1902-04)

[Born Malvern, Worcestershire 25 Sep 1868, died Malvern, Worcestershire 28 Aug 1949]

After studying singing at the Royal Academy of Music, H. Scott Russell (real name Harold Henry Russell) made his stage debut in Elizabeth, New Jersey, in October 1890, in the chorus of Paul Jones with the Agnes Huntington Company. His first named part may have been the Marquis de Vardeuil in Captain Therèse. He appeared in the part with the Huntington Company at the Union Square Theatre, New York, in February 1892.

Russell made his London debut with the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company at the Savoy in October 1893, creating the part of Lord Dramaleigh in the first production of Utopia Limited (October 1893-June 1894). He also filled in on occasion for Scott Fishe as Mr. Goldbury during the run. Next he appeared as Bertuccio in Mirette (July-August and October-November 1894), Pedro Gomez in The Chieftain (December 1894-March 1895), and Mr. Box in Cox and Box (December 1894-March 1895).

He then left the D'Oyly Carte to appear at the Trafalgar as Gustave in Baron Golosh (April-June 1895), but rejoined the D'Oyly Carte in October 1895, appearing on tour as Cyril in Princess Ida, and Mr. Goldbury with Carte's Company "D" until December. He soon returned to the Savoy, where he created the part of Dr. Tannhäuser in The Grand Duke (March-July 1896). He remained at the Savoy for the subsequent revival of The Mikado, taking the part of He in the curtain raiser Weather or No (August 1896-February 1897), and filling in briefly for Charles Kenningham as Nanki-Poo in September 1896. For His Majesty (February-April 1897), Russell created the part of Count Cosmo and revisited He when Weather or No was added to the bill in March.

When The Yeomen of the Guard was given its first Savoy revival in May 1897, Russell was Leonard Meryll. He left later that month in order to appear as Sir Andrew Drummond in The Yashmak (Shaftesbury Theatre). The Yashmak closed on July 31, 1897, and Russell returned to the Savoy in August, taking up Leonard Meryll again for the remainder of the run, until November 20, 1897. There was no named part for him in The Grand Duchess of Gerolstein (December 1897-March 1898), though he did fill in for Kenningham as Fritz in January 1898.

Russell left the D'Oyly Carte again in March 1898 to appear at Daly's as Katana in The Geisha. Between 1898 and 1902 he was in The Greek Slave (Daly's, June 1898), The Gaiety Girl (Daly's, June 1899), and San Toy (Daly's, 1899-1901).

In March 1902 he returned to the D'Oyly Carte organization as principal tenor with D'Oyly Carte Repertoire Opera Company "C":appearing as Frederic in The Pirates of Penzance, the Duke of Dunstable in Patience, Earl Tolloller in Iolanthe, Cyril in Princess Ida, Nanki-Poo in The Mikado, Colonel Fairfax in The Yeomen of the Guard, and Marco in The Gondoliers for the next two years. He added Ralph Rackstraw in H.M.S. Pinafore to his repertoire in January 1904, but left the D'Oyly Carte for good in March of that year.

He appeared again at Daly's in 1906-07 in The Geisha, Amasis, and Les Merveilleuses, then retired from the stage for three years before resurfacing in 1910 with the Beecham Light Opera Company. He returned to the London Stage in 1912, and continued to perform there and on tour for another 26 years. He also served as manager of the Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith, from 1920 to 1932. His last role in London was Locket in The Beggar's Opera (Kingsway, October 1938).

Scott Russell was as prolific recording artist in the early days of the gramophone. His 1898 recording of "Take a Pair of Sparkling Eyes" from The Gondoliers is presumed to be the first professional recording of a Gilbert & Sullivan song. He recorded "Take a Pair" again in 1899, and also recorded tenor songs from The Rose of Persia ("I Care Not If"), Princess Ida ("Would You Know"), and Utopia Limited ("A Tenor All Singers") in 1900. The last three of these appear on the Pearl CD "The Art of the Savoyard" (GEMM CD 9991). He was the brother-in-law of D'Oyly Carte contralto Louie Rene.

Page created August 27, 2001 © 2001 David Stone