William Sumner as the Learned Judge in Trial by Jury

William Sumner (1932-39)

[Born Lancashire]

After studying at the Manchester School of Music, bass-baritone William Sumner joined the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company chorus in August 1932. During the 1933-34 season he took the small part of Bob Beckett in H.M.S. Pinafore and shared Guron in Princess Ida with Richard Walker. In 1935-36 he occasionally filled in for Darrell Fancourt as Sergeant Meryll in The Yeomen of the Guard.

In August 1937 Sumner became understudy to Martyn Green in the comic baritone roles. For the next two seasons he appeared regularly as Mr. Cox in Cox and Box, Major Murgatroyd in Patience, Second Citizen in The Yeomen of the Guard, and Antonio in The Gondoliers. During the 1937-38 season he also shared Bob Beckett with Radley Flynn and appeared in occasion as Sergeant Bouncer in Cox and Box and the Lord Chancellor in Iolanthe. In September 1938 he took over the part of the Learned Judge in Trial by Jury from Sydney Granville.

In December 1938 Sumner met a young American woman on the Company's transatlantic crossing. They were married in Boston in May 1939, and Sumner left the D'Oyly Carte at the end of the season in July. He returned to America, and was reportedly living in Cape Cod in 1983 with three sons, a daughter, and "a goodly number of grandchildren."

Page created August 27, 2001© 2001 David Stone