THE D'OYLY CARTE OPERA COMPANY

Edward A. White (1884-87, 1890-96, 1898-1909, 1913-14)

[Born Ireland c.1862]

Edward A. White was a chorister on tour with Mr. D'Oyly Carte's "D" ("Princess Ida" No. 2) Company in the first provincial production of Princess Ida, February-December 1884. By June 1885 he transferred to Carte's "E" Company, when he took over the part of Pish-Tush in The Mikado. He played Pish-Tush with "E" Company through December 1887, though he also filled in on occasion in the larger parts of the Mikado of Japan (October 1886) and Pooh-Bah (November 1887).

He appears to have left the Company in 1887 or 1888. (An Edward A. White, possibly the same gentleman, appeared at the People's Theatre, New York, in a play called Theodora for one week beginning October 28, 1888.)

White rejoined the D'Oyly Carte organization and toured as a baritone chorister with Carte's Company "B" for portions of 1890-91, before transferring to Company "C," where he filled in as Pish-Tush in The Mikado in October and November 1891. By January 1892 he was in the chorus of the main Company at the Savoy and during the next few months deputized from time-to-time as Tommy Merton in The Vicar of Bray, before taking that part on the road with Carte's Company "D" (March-December 1892).

In December 1892 he joined D'Oyly Carte Opera Company "C," where he appeared over the next several years as Pish-Tush (December 1892; February, May, and June 1893; January 1894-April 1896), the Lieutenant of the Tower in The Yeomen of the Guard (December 1892-April 1896), Antonio in The Gondoliers (December 1892- April 1896), Colonel Calverley in Patience (December 1892-January 1896), Samuel in The Pirates of Penzance (May 1893-April 1896), Strephon (May and June 1893) and the Earl of Mountararat in Iolanthe (briefly, February 1895), Bill Bobstay in H.M.S. Pinafore (January 1894-April 1896), the Notary in The Sorcerer (April 1895-April 1896), Florian in Princess Ida (December 1895-April 1896), and the Learned Judge (on occasion, 1894-95) and the Usher (January-April 1896) in Trial by Jury.

In April 1896 he shifted to D'Oyly Carte Opera Company "B," giving at most a few performances as Luiz in The Gondoliers that month, than playing the Prince of Monte Carlo in The Grand Duke from April to July. He left the cast and the Company at that point, next appearing in Ealing (August 3, 1896) and then on tour in a "musical domestic comedy" called A Merry Madcap.

White was back with Company "C" in December 1898. During the next three years he took many baritone parts:Counsel for the Plaintiff (December 1898- December 1900) and the Learned Judge (on occasion 1900) in Trial, the Notary in The Sorcerer (December 1898-December 1900), Bill Bobstay (December 1898-February 1899 and August 1899-December 1900) and Dick Deadeye (on occasion 1900) in Pinafore, Samuel (December 1898 and August 1899-July 1900) and the Pirate King (January-February 1899) in Pirates, Colonel Calverley in Patience (December 1898), Guron in Princess Ida (December 1898-September 1901), the Mikado (December 1898-February 1899 and August 1899-July 1900) and Pooh-Bah (April and September 1901) in The Mikado, the Lieutenant (December 1898, August 1899-December 1900, and April and September 1901), Sergeant Meryll (January-February 1889), the Lieutenant of the Tower (January 1899), and First Yeoman (August 1899 and September 1900) in Yeomen, Antonio (December 1898, February-August 1899, and on occasion 1900) and Giuseppe (January 1899 and August 1899-July 1900) in The Gondoliers, the Earl of Mountararat in Iolanthe (January-February 1899 and August 1899-December 1900), Captain Corcoran (January 1899-March 1900) and Calynx (briefly April 1899) in Utopia Limited, and possibly the Grand Vizier in The Rose of Persia (January-September 1901).

White had no roles between September 1901 and August 1902. This was probably a function of the consolidation of talent as the number of touring companies was reduced. In August 1902 he deputized for Fred Billington as the Sergeant of Police in Pirates and Pooh-Bah in The Mikado, and during the 1902 season he also filled in (exact times unclear) as Private Willis in Iolanthe, Scynthius and Guron in Princess Ida, Don Alhambra in The Gondoliers, and played Karl in the curtain-raiser The Outpost. He also substituted for Billington as Don Alhambra in February and March 1903, then joined a newly-formed D'Oyly Carte Opera Company "E" later that month. With Company "E" White was once more a principal:appearing as Captain Corcoran in Pinafore, Pooh-Bah, Wilfred Shadbolt in Yeomen, and (from September) Don Alhambra.

Company "E" was disbanded in December 1903. White rejoined what was by then called the D'Oyly Carte Principal Repertory Opera Company in January 1904, where his only leading role that year was Captain Corcoran in H.M.S. Pinafore, though he also filled in again for Billington that year as Archibald Grosvenor in Patience, Mountararat, and Don Alhambra.

White yielded the Captain to Leicester Tunks in January 1905. He then settled into chorus and understudy duty from January 1905 to June 1914. He filled in briefly for Billington again as Pooh-Bah (July 1905 and April 1907), Don Alhambra (July 1905), and King Hildebrand in Princess Ida (June 1907), joined the chorus at the Savoy for the Second London Repertory Season (April 1908-March 1909), and later took the small parts of Guron and Annibale (Gondoliers) for parts of the 1913-14 season. In March 1914, White assumed the part of Bob Beckett in Pinafore as a result of George Sinclair's promotion following Sydney Granville's departure. When the season ended in June 1914, so, it appears, did White's D'Oyly Carte career.



Page modified June 27, 2008 © 2003-08 David Stone