Hélène Witcombe as Leila in Iolanthe

Hélène Witcombe (1977-82)

[Born Bramhall, Cheshire 30 Dec 1956, died Manchester 3 Mar 1998]

Mezzo-soprano Hélène Witcombe auditioned with the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company on three occasions before joining the Company as a chorister in May 1977. She appeared as a substitute Vittoria in The Gondoliers during the 1978-79 season, and in February 1979 took over the part of Leila in Iolanthe when Lorraine Daniels was promoted to the title role.

In October 1979 Miss Witcombe added Vittoria and Kate in The Pirates of Penzance to her regular duties, then in February 1981 assumed the small part of Ruth when Ruddigore was revived. During the last three seaons of the D'Oyly Carte's existence (1979-82) she also filled in on occasion as Phoebe Meryll in The Yeomen of the Guard (1979-81), Tessa in The Gondoliers (1979-80), and Peep-Bo in The Mikado (1981-82).

Miss Witcombe appeared in numerous Gilbert & Sullivan concerts and productions after the Company closed, including the Joseph Papp production of The Pirates of Penzance. Her other stage credits included Cinderella, Annie Get Your Gun, Mr. Cinders, My Fair Lady, Brigadoon, Annie, Les Miserables, Chess, Oliver, and the award winning musical She Loves Me at the Savoy.

She was just 41 when she died of cancer in 1998.

Page created August 27, 2001 © 2001 David Stone